Today was a beautiful day for Pride. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and according to local media, there were record numbers of people out to show their support and celebrate the LGBTQ community in Manitoba.
The first Pride parade in Winnipeg was held in 1987. There were 250 people in attendance. Today, over 10,000 people came out. What a story numbers can sometimes tell.
After last year's fight for anti-bullying legistlation which included the provision for each publically funded educational institution to have the right to have a Gay-Straight Alliance, it was rewarding to see the numbers of high school students proudly walking behind their banners.
I love the fact that the Pride parade brings out the best in people. People are free to express themselves exactly as they want to. They are free to express their affection for their partners and their friends in the way that they choose. There is music and dancing, and young and old.
I was thrilled to see faith represented in a few different expressions in this year's parade. There were several denominations marching proudly behind banners...
.... including my Alma matter - the Mennonites. It was a proud moment!
This might have been my favorite slogan of the parade.
There was a large contingent of CBC staff out in the parade, including a big crew from DNTO.
People sometimes ask me why this is important to me. Why we'd bring our girls out to an event like this. Ellie and Sasha would tell you they go because it's fun. I'd tell you that it's because there are still countries in the world in which being gay can result in a jail sentence, a beating, or death. It's because in Canada, over half of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, and likely found themselves in that position because they were afraid, conflicted, and unaccepted. It's because my own personal research this year led me to discover that suicide rates among those in the church who identify as LGBTQ are substantially higher than those who do not.
I'd tell you that I support people to love who they choose, and I value them exactly as they are.
For the record, I think God does too.
Today was a great reason to celebrate.