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Thousands march Winnipeg streets during Pride Parade

WINNIPEG — More than 11,000 people paraded around the city Sunday to celebrate acceptance and diversity.

Pride Winnipeg started June 5 and ran events all week supporting the LGTTBQ community. The annual festival brings people across Canada and around the world together every June.

“The parade is to remember back in 1987 when we got the Manitoba human rights code passed with sexual orientation included,” said Pride Winnipeg president Jonathan Niemczak.

A record number of floats and group entries were in this year’s Winnipeg parade. About 80 groups including police, political parties and sports teams signed up to take part in the event which is now one of the largest in the country.

“In 79 countries around the world what we’re doing today is illegal,” said Winnipeg mayor Brian Bowman who participated in the parade. “In Winnipeg everyone belongs.”

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PHOTO GALLERY: 28th annual Pride Parade in Winnipeg

Pride Parade kicking off in Winnipeg.
Pride Parade kicking off in Winnipeg.
A few colourful and creative costumes  at the parade.
A few colourful and creative costumes at the parade.
One of many groups that signed up to march.
One of many groups that signed up to march.
Thousands of Winnipeggers  took part in the annual event Sunday.
Thousands of Winnipeggers took part in the annual event Sunday. File / Global News
Even the animals were dressed up for Pride.
Even the animals were dressed up for Pride.

Shandi Strong came out 15 years ago and knows what it’s like to deal with discrimination.

“I lost my job and came out and lost almost everything so I decided somebody has to do something,” said Strong.

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Strong also said Pride is a chance for people to gain a better understanding of one another.

“The thing with trans people is we’re a shy breed, we don’t want anybody to know who or what we once were,” she said.  “That allows all the misinformation to be perpetuated and it does us harm.”

Now she hopes to inspire others to be who they want and get involved in the community.

“It’s really important that everybody knows that we’re all really really similar people,” said Strong.

A free event at The Forks featuring live music continues the celebration and a closing party for the festival will take place at the MET starting at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available at pridewinnipeg.com.