REGINA – Rain didn’t stop hundreds from walking in the annual Queen City Pride Parade Saturday afternoon.
“It’s a day to stand up for ourselves and say, ‘We’re here, and it’s an awesome day,’” said Ms. Gay Regina’s Mercedez Bendz.
The parade, estimated to have featured hundreds of participants, snaked towards Broad Street at noon, before heading west on College Avenue, going up on Albert Street, and then wrapping up with festivities at Victoria Park.
Daniel Shier, co-chair of Queen City Pride, said the parade does bring up the question of relevancy in an age where same-sex marriage is legal in Canada, but there are still issues.
“There’s more to LGBT rights. There’s more to life than just marriage rights,” said Shier.
He cited the push to add terms to the province’s human rights code to ensure undeniable protection for the transgender community as an example.
Shier also noted that the parade also aims to send a message to those in countries less accepting.
“There are seven countries in the world that currently have a death sentence for being gay,” he said.
Halla Scott, 17, marched in the parade with her family.
“It means that I can feel free and happy being myself and it’s nice to express that with everyone else enjoying that, too,” said Scott.
She said that her family accepted her with open arms when she came out two years ago.
“Don’t make the mistake of not seeing your child as your child,” Halla’s dad, Ron, warned. “Keep your brain straight and realize that universal love is universal love.”
“She’s our daughter, we made her,” said mom Claudia Burke.
“So, anything she got, she got from us,” finished Ron.
It was a first time appearance in uniform for the Regina Police Service.
“I think there’s been, obviously, a history of some hesitation and maybe even mistrust to a certain degree [with the RPS],” said Constable Brandi Arnold of the city’s queer community.
Arnold said she wants people get over their fears.
“It just seemed like a natural progression that we would be marching in the parade, because it’s a community just like other communities that we support,” she added.
While marching in last year’s parade, Dani Halvorson proposed to her girlfriend Stephanie Mack.
“It was something that had never been done before, and I wanted it to be memorable for her, and for our community as well, too, and our family and friends,” said Halvorson, who co-marshaled this year’s parade with Mack.
With the wedding just a couple of weeks away for the two, there is pressure to make it just as special as their engagement.
“We kind of got to have a big wedding now to kind of go in tune with that,” she said.