Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Having a gay ol' time

The following quote is taken from a recent Chronicle Herald article titled, "Remembering when it wasn't OK to be Gay", which talked about Halifax's very first pride parade 25 years ago.

"Mike Sangster marched with a paper bag over his head.
Alan Stewart walked past homophobic slurs.
About 70 others stepped to the terrible taunts of different times.
The chants of change
And the beat of history.
'Hey hey, no no, the status quo has got to go', the Halifax protestors called out 25 years ago.
'Faggots,' bystanders jeered back.
'One, two, three, four.  Our rights are what we're fighting for,' the men and women chanted along local streets.
Click, click, click, click --the spectators aimed their invisible guns.
'Five, six, seven, eight. Legislate -- without the wait!', they continued on as strangers formed their fingers into weapons and hurled angry insults that amaze Stewart still.
'Obscenities, terribly disgusting obscenities', he recalls, sitting outside today with his longtime partner Sangster, a rainbow pride flag blowing in the breeze, memories flowing like it was yesterday.

And so began Halifax's first gay pride parade, more of a protest really back then, when being gay in Nova Scotia could get you fired or evicted or even killed."

 › š  š  š  š  š  š 

Fast forward to 2012.  Friends Amy and Mickie invited me to join them as part of the Nova Scotia Community College entry in this year's pride parade.  

I even sprayed my hair pink for the occasion.  

After decorating our truck with assorted flags and banners, we had loads of time to kill before the parade.

I wandered around checking out costumes and floats and revelling the happy, accepting, environment.   For some of the marchers, this may be the one day a year when they can publicly show who they truly are without fear.


Unlike that first parade there were no paper-bagged heads here.  No hidden identities.  No fear of acceptance.

While that first parade had 70 entrants this one boasted over 1,400.  

I expected to see entries representing our provincial NDP and Liberal political parties, but I was pleasantly surprised to see a small contingent representing the Progressive Conservative party too !  Kudos to them.

The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia's float was amazing.  The models at the back of the float posed in beautiful period costumes,

while the blank canvases constantly changed as the human behind the canvass moved.

Even the police joined the parade.

I support my gay father.

Rather than bigotry and hatred, this year's parade participants were greeted by a crowd of over 100,000 flag-waving, smiling people.

And some of them had signs for US.

I had to leave my country to marry the girl of my dreams.
Thankfully, she's Canadian.
Married, July 26, 2011.

While we have come a long way -- but we're not there yet.   


  1. What a difference 25 years can make. I have only been to one of Boise's gay parades. I need to do that again. I know we still get hecklers here, though. There is a strong red-neck contingent in Idaho. They think of themselves as Christian. I think of them as something quite the opposite.

  2. I have noticed the hard-line red-neck attitudes soften somewhat over the 26 years I've lived in my tiny town, but I notice that nobody that's openly gay stays for long. Hopefully that's more due to the limited dating opportunities than it is to their treatment.

    As far as parades go, we no longer even have our annual summer festival, with an estimated population of about 1700 people, there weren't enough to split between participants and spectators. :)

  3. Linda, that's really sad about Boise.

    Cindy, that same bigotry can be found in small towns everywhere.

    Very sad.

  4. Looks like you had a wonderful time, Sybil. How fortunate that there is more tolerance and acceptance. A few years ago my friend, Amy (not our common friend Amy Lynn) dared me to go with her to a lesbian bar in Chicago. Of course I dared! It was so interesting. It would probably make a very interesting blog, if one didn't attend to one's Deepest Inner Voice.

  5. Great parade! Glad the community is supportive. Thanks for stopping by my Point Pelee post! :)

  6. THANK you for posting this Sybil! Yaay for Canada :-) Sorry I had to shout, but I'm so angry about the people in this country - where I currently reside - who are so against same sex marriage that they've gone so far as to ban and forbid in so many states.
    Dick Cheyney's daughter is openly gay yet never stood up for her.

  7. Wonderful photos! Love th first one of you all with the umbrella--that's a keeper for sure. Even in California we're struggling with acceptance for gays, which seems wrong, considering how many people here are gay--at least, based on how many friends I have of that ilk. But I suppose most of them collect in areas where gays are more accepted, like the San Francisco Bay area (where I live).

    Still, it's so much better than it was even 10 years ago here. I wish that all my gay friends with long-time partners could have the benefit of marriage that I had. Some managed to marry in the tiny window during which it was legal here in the state--what an odd state to be in now, so to speak, married and living where they could no longer get married again. Hoping the courts overrule the marriage ban.

  8. Kathy, wow a lesbian bar. Gotta add that to my list. :-)

    Dawn, you are most welcome. Isn't it sad that we can't just respect each other and stop fearing the "different" among us and just start seeing "us" and US.

    dearrosie -- move here, move here ! I think that say something not very nice about his character, that Dick Cheyney puts politics above his daughter.

    Elf, better in some places but I wouldn't want to be gay in lots of rural areas (including here in Canada).


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