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Pride on full display in annual Victoria-By-The-Sea parade


VICTORIA, P.E.I. —

Rachel MacLeod of Breadalbane has worked at jobs where he co-workers thought it would be funny to publicly ‘out’ her.

Those same co-workers would also have conversations about homosexuality that made her feel uncomfortable.

On Monday, MacLeod was one of dozens of people who marched in the annual Victoria-By-The-Sea Pride Parade, marching down Main Street at noon telling the world they are proud of the people they’ve become.

“I’ve had people yell at me from cars,’’ MacLeod said. “I’d go out for a few drinks with friends and a guy would say, “Well, I could make you straight’. People think this is normalized behavior and it’s not. We should never settle for feeling uncomfortable.’’

For Trevor Corkum and his partner, Joshua Lewis, it was a chance to walk through the town proudly holding hands and embracing.

“You’re always gauging that no matter where you are. You do,’’ Lewis said when asked if he and Corkum feel comfortable holding hands at all times. “In Canada, were pretty fortunate to have a lot of places where you don’t have to worry about that as much.’’

Lewis said events like the pride parades help send the message to the public that it should always be OK for anyone to hold hands in public.

Corkum thinks these events, and their continued growth in popularity over the years, is definitely rubbing off on young Islanders.

“It means a lot for kids growing up to see that people can be so open and so comfortable with who they are,’’ Corkum said. “I think that’s an important part of it.’’

Corkum adds that it’s very heartwarming to see such a tiny village embrace the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in such an open way with the countless rainbow flags flying on properties, street corners and homes.

Alyssa LaGrange of Victoria said such a small community can send such a big message on a day like pride parade day.

“I think it’s really important to be representing the diversity and the acceptance of such a small community because there are entire countries where you don’t have this kind of acceptance,’’ LaGrange said. “I think that we are an inspiration to everyone.’’

Nancy Adams, who has gay family members, wore a T-shirt that seemed to sum up what everyone was thinking — Love Wins.

“We need to be more inclusive,’’ Adams said. “We’ve come a long way for acceptance (but) there’s still prejudice out there.’’

Jeanne Sullivan, who helped co-ordinate the Victoria parade, said it’s important to keep in mind there are still marginalized people in society and any ground that’s been gained over the past few years can always be lost — pointing directly at the U.S. as an example.

“So, we need to celebrate,’’ Sullivan said. “We need to celebrate as a community and support each other and fight discrimination in any form whatsoever.’’

Deputy Mayor Keith Dewar said it’s important to support people regardless of their race, colour or sexual orientation.

“It’s quite obvious that we still have a lot of biases and challenges for our various minorities,’’ Dewar said. “I think it’s important for all of us to go out and show we support them and continue to do so.’’

Dave.stewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart


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