More aware this year than any previous year of the systemic oppression imposed on those who do not conform to the norm, and having experienced first hand that "equality in law is not equality in practice", I was especially looking forward to leaving behind a rather disappointing school year and embracing this weekend, when it is not only "okay to be gay", but when in fact one's gender creativity and sexual identity is celebrated and encouraged.
So, I joined my aviation colleagues on Friday evening at the post-booth-set-up party. My partner had been helping to set up the Aviation Pride booth, and I met her downtown afterwards to have a few drinks and staff the booth for the Friday evening crowd which was large and celebratory... and lucky, since that was the only part of the weekend when it wasn't pouring rain!!!
After our shifts, we forwent the Dyke march and picked up a rainbow cake at the Village Loblaws before heading back to the west end to bring Alex to an end-of-year party hosted by one of his friends from school. But not before pausing in our rain jackets and soaked shoes to snap a photo at the Lucky Charms picture booth!
Sunday's parade was also missed, unfortunately, as we had to take Simon up to camp -- his first year of overnight camp! He and Alex bid a silly, huggy good-bye to one another in the lobby of our building before Simon, Tats, Vinx and I piled into Vinx' vehicle for the 2 hour ride up north. (Alex hung out with his dad for the day; he's decided on an alternative, self-directed camp week with a family friend while his brother is away dancing with the mosquitoes and canoeing in the Kawarthas.)
Pride weekend is the time of year when I am perhaps one of the more conservative people in the crowd, and it is a weekend I have grown to relish not just for social and entertainment reasons, but for the equity it promotes and the social justice it insists on. The celebration of Toronto's LGBTQ community for me symbolizes the rainbow of people with whom I share this planet. I love being amidst the great diversity of young and old, male, female and everything in between and outside of that binary, and the cultural milieu that descends upon Church/Wellesley and the surrounding area to experience first hand what inclusion can really feel like!