Reflecting on the Second Annual Kincardine Pride Parade, I have been wondering what I can possibly add to the media reports, online comments and photos, each one sharing our community’s joyous celebration of Pride and what it means to each one of us who participated in it.
Last year, at our Inaugural Pride Parade, I was particularly moved by the large number of young families who participated in the parade or cheered enthusiastically as the first-ever Pride Parade in their hometown proceeded along crowded downtown Queen Street. This year, I feel humbled and touched by the number of seniors, who came with families and friends to participate and “show their Pride” in Kincardine. Especially meaningful to me was the participation of Chief Lester Anoquot, who walked with our own Mayor Eadie, to show his support for equality, dignity, and respect for all LGBTQ2S people on this historical territory of the Saugeen Ojibway First Nation.
As Kendra Fisher and others have maintained, for many years gender non-conforming youth were bullied and harassed, many leaving town, seldom to return. My hope is that word of the culture-shift from mere tolerance to visible celebration that has been happening here, through the work of many individuals and organizations, will reach those who have left.
For those who still have intolerant attitudes, my hope is that, one day, they will let go of misconceptions and judgments in order to celebrate the uniqueness and value of each person, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender expression, treating everyone with the respect and dignity they deserve. As the saying goes, “Be careful who you hate. It could be someone you love.”
Although there is still very much to be done towards this end in many rural Ontario communities, I am optimistic that understanding and compassion will continue to grow and prevail, with communities such as Kincardine leading the way. As Fred Hahn said, with passionate determination, “We are not going back!”- to the past days of labelling, stigmatizing, and discriminating against others because of their gender identity or whom they choose to love.
Congratulations, Kincardine, on your wonderful second Pride! #LoveisLove
President, Kincardine Pride Inc.,
July 1, 2018