Well, another Pride has come in and gone in Calgary and man, what a party. By party, I mean the parade itself. I never go to the actual Pride parties because, well, Netflix. But, from what I saw on social media, they looked like a blast! But the parade itself is always a blast. Sure, there’s still controversy in Calgary, I mean, I think it’ll be a while until we host World Pride, but I actually like watching the parade grow as much as it has. Early estimates put the parade at 50,000 people, which would be a huge increase over the 40,000 people that saw it last year!
But it wasn’t just the number of people watching the parade that grew this year, the amount of floats did too. This year’s parade feature more than 100 floats, the most ever and ranged from volunteer organizations, huge corporations, the Calgary Police and Fire Department and, also for the first time ever, members of all of Calgary’s professional sports teams, including The Calgary Flames, The Roughnecks, The Hitmen and The Calgary Stampeders. Actually, Jon Cornish proudly stood on the Calgary Sexual Health Centre float and blew bubbles while thousands cheered his name! It was honestly quite a moment to behold.
On top of the sports starts and raging grannies that marched in the parade, as too did many politicians. If you read my Metro column this week (and if you didn’t, you can check it out here), I wrote about the politics of Pride and what a complicated game it’s become. During the Parade, I did get a chance to speak with PC Leadership hopeful Jim Prentice, who told me that his reasons for supporting the homophobic Bill 44 were too long to get into during the middle of a parade. (Which is more than he told the CTV reporter who asked the same question.) I told Mr. Prentice he should at least be able to explain to me why he’d support a bill that will makes life incredibly hard for Alberta’s youth. he then reminded me that he voted to support gay marriage in 2005 and I told him that none of his record matters as long as he still supports Bill 44. He disagreed, but with the PCs barely holding on to their dynasty, we shall see. I did see that Ric McIver was also in attendance at the Parade festival, though he did not walk. Why you wouldn’t want to stand in front of 50,000 people six days before an election is beyond me. I also noticed that he made no mention of attending Pride on his social media channels. His muffled message continues. But it wasn’t all political strife. I saw members of the all the political parties waving flags and honestly having a blast.
But back to the really good stuff, because there is so much to talk about. Honestly, the day was such a rainbowed coloured blur, I’m so happy to have the photos to help me remember all the amazing people that came out and celebrate so many different things. Because that’s the thing about Pride, it’s not just about LGTBQ rights, I think it’s a celebration for anyone that’s ever felt left out, that’s ever been made to feel less equal, that’s ever been let down by the people they should be able to trust. It really is for everyone. And if you missed out, don’t worry, it’ll happen again next, probably bigger and better than ever before.
Check out some of the photos from today’s amazing celebration!