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EDITORIAL: Taking part in celebrations with Pride

Justeann Hansen, left, and Lora Serres were two of the participants in the annual Pride parade through the streets of Charlottetown last year. Pride P.E.I. is getting set for another week of celebrations, which kick off on Saturday.
Justeann Hansen, left, and Lora Serres were two of the participants in the annual Pride parade through the streets of Charlottetown last year. Pride P.E.I. is getting set for another week of celebrations, with the parade returning on Saturday. - -File photo

Things are a little more colourful on the front page today.

If you’re online, you’ll see the colours there, too. We’re showing in Technicolor our support for the Pride movement — and Pride weeks across Atlantic Canada — by changing our front-page banner to echo Pride’s colours.

Why?

Well, first, let’s talk history — protest history.

The Pride movement started in 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan — and it didn’t start gently. Police officers raided the inn, which had been a focal point for what was then called the gay community.

First, police started arresting people in the inn. A riot ensued — following that, organizers came up with the idea for Pride parades to push for the inclusion of the entire community, and to commemorate the Stonewall violence.

The Pride marches were to be different than earlier marches: no age limits, no dress codes — they also were more than just marches.

But while Pride started as a protest, it’s become a celebration, and a big celebration at that. They now stretch right across this country, with notable events across the Atlantic provinces.

Halifax’s Pride movement held its first march in 1988 — with just 75 marchers. The Halifax Pride Festival now counts over 120,000 participants.

Charlottetown Pride held its first march 24 years ago, and is also now a full week of events, including a special “rainbrew” beer by local craft brewer Upstreet. The Pride parade beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday at Rochford Square is a highlight of the week, and The Guardian will be marching in it. We invite our readers to join us.

In St. John’s, the annual march has grown from fewer than 30 people at the outset to around 1,800 — and it, too, is now a week-long celebration of inclusion.

And that’s why it’s so important that even those outside what has become the LGBTQIAP2S+ community take part. (The shorthand has grown: there are more letters as broader ranges of sexuality and identification are included.)

Those of us not in the LGBTQ+ community have to do our part to reach across what has been, in the past, a divide. (And more than a divide; harm has been done to generations of people who didn’t fit society’s traditional mould.)

There is still a lot to be done.

There are, unfortunately, people who cannot see beyond their own prejudices. And more: people who make inclusion all the more difficult because they are willing to talk inclusion, but have difficulty doing that other part — listening.

Even within the LGBTQ+ community, there are occasional differences about who should be accepted, when and where, and about how everyone fits in what has become a broad spectrum of self-identification.

People have always been different: we have different goals, different loves, different needs, different desires.

But we are all people. There is no reason why we can’t enjoy and celebrate that — together.

Let’s find and display true colours that celebrate our differences, our similarities — and most of all, our humanity.

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