Thoughts and Feelings from Pride 2016

Taking a slight departure from writing for this post because I just have a lot of feelings after this past weekend’s Pride activities.

I attended Pride in Edmonton, Alberta – my first bigger city Pride since I lived in Toronto back in 2009. I marched in the parade, got to meet a bunch of really awesome people, and just soaked up the overall vibe of the experience. In a word, it was awesome.

Even though I feel the same way every time I go to an LGBTQA event, it never ceases to surprise me how much more at ease I feel when I’m surrounded by other members of the community. It’s not as if I spend my day-to-day surrounded by homophobes; every straight person I associate with considers themselves to be an ally and has never made me feel like less. In that way, I am very lucky. But being the only queer person in your office or friend group can be isolating. The way we experience the overwhelmingly hetero world order is different in a way that I either struggle to explain or am not really given the chance to.

But at an event like Pride, I feel like I can relax. My true self starts to leak out from the very rigid frame I keep it poured into the rest of the time. I sit, I talk, I dress differently. I feel content knowing that, even though we’re all on a slightly different page, the people that surround me are all at least reading from the same book as me. As a bisexual woman, I still feel somewhat on the periphery of the community, but it’s better than being completely invisible.

I love the diversity at Pride. I saw all ages, different races, different body types, and so many forms of sexual and gender identity all out and proudly on display. Everyone seemed so happy and comfortable with themselves and with each other and it was really and truly a beautiful thing. I’ve never felt such love from so many complete strangers. I wish it could always be like that.

But I think what struck me the most was that it was a safe place. I met so many young people with the scars of self-harm up up and down their arms, and each one made my heart ache. But each of these people were so happy – happy to be there, surrounded by their friends and loving strangers – and in that moment that was all I wanted for them. I hoped that they were happy and feeling safe and accepted. I hoped that day provided them with a reprieve and with hope for better things to come.

And for every single person who hasn’t been able to safely get out and celebrate Pride as openly as they want to, I’m sending you my love. I hope you can find your own space of reprieve and people who give you the hope and support you deserve.

Happy Pride, everyone. I love you dearly.

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