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UPDATE: Pride is still a place of safety and inclusion for many in P.E.I.


P.E.I. Pride Week caps off with 25th annual parade in Charlottetown

This year’s annual Charlottetown Pride Parade was a special one, given it marks the 25th year of the first march through the streets of the city.

But for Ivory Jansen it was special for a different reason.

It was her first since coming out as bisexual a few months ago.

Jansen’s mom, Angel, and brother, Drake, were both marching with her, though no one in their family is a stranger to Pride, said Angel.

“I have four kids and one son-in-law, and all of them are straight as rainbows.”

As for Ivory, being out means she doesn’t have to hide at all.

“I can wear more rainbows.”

Ivory Jansen, centre, waits with her mom Angel and brother Drake for the Charlottetown Pride Parade to start on Saturday. - Michael Robar
Ivory Jansen, centre, waits with her mom Angel and brother Drake for the Charlottetown Pride Parade to start on Saturday. - Michael Robar

It was humid, hot and skies were clear for the duration of the parade, which did a quick loop from it’s launching point behind the provincial government buildings, up Euston Street to Great George Street, then down Grafton Street and back to Rochford Square, where Pride in the Park was held from 2 to 5 p.m.

There were 63 entries in the parade and 920 people marched, event organizers said.

In attendance along the route and at Rochford Square were an estimated 4,600 people ranging from infants to seniors. 

A small marketplace was set up with a few local vendors and some tables for organizations associated with Pride, like the PEERS Alliance and the P.E.I. Reach Foundation. 

There was also a musical performance from Brandon Roy, which was followed by an outdoor drag show. 

After a quick welcome from Pride P.E.I. chairman  John Kimmel, opening remarks from Liberal MP Sean Casey and Premier Dennis King, the parade’s grand marshal Lee Fleming said a few words.

She spoke about how things have changed since the first parade on the Island and sang a protest song she wrote some 25 years ago about demanding freedom and rights.

While many freedoms and rights have been won by the 2SLGBTQIA+, Pride still has a vital role in the community beyond being just a celebration.

Half a decade ago, Skylar Thorne didn’t have any out friends in high school. It was only through attending their first Pride, with their school’s gender-sexuality alliance (GSA), that he was able to meet other openly 2SLGBTQIA+ people.

This year he marched with friends he brought along. 

Skylar Thorne, right, needed Pride to find other 2SLGBTQIA+ people like him half a decade ago. This year, he brought friends, from left, Nathan McNally, Caycie O'Brien and Avery O'Brien. - Michael Robar
Skylar Thorne, right, needed Pride to find other 2SLGBTQIA+ people like him half a decade ago. This year, he brought friends, from left, Nathan McNally, Caycie O'Brien and Avery O'Brien. - Michael Robar

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