Pride festivities took over downtown Edmonton on Saturday, albeit at a smaller and more subdued scale since the parade was cancelled earlier this year.
A colourful march to city hall kicked off the celebration — but, make no mistake, it wasn’t a parade.
Clara Lyons said the event had a very different tone this year.
“It wasn’t that exciting, lovely, beautiful celebration as much as it was a little based on anger. And I think that’s fair,” Lyons said.
“I’m hoping that people here listen and realize that it is a very real cause and a very real issue that needs to be addressed.”
The Edmonton Pride Festival Society cancelled this year’s parade due to various internal issues, so a grassroots effort made sure the show would go on anyway.
READ MORE: 2019 Edmonton Pride Festival cancelled
Organizer Phillip Goncalves said he put together the event in less than two weeks.
“It’s definitely less of a party vibe and more of just the community getting together and really advocating for what we need,” he said.
LISTEN BELOW: Phillip Goncalves join the Ryan Jespersen Show on 630 CHED
He wanted to provide an option for the marginalized to have a place to share their stories.
“Pride is an annual event and it’s absolutely devastating that is got cancelled,” Goncalves said. “It’s the one day we get to speak out and kind of raise our voices and let people know we’re here, we still have issues we need to address.”
Tessa Mulcair with YESS said the majority of youth who are homeless are LGBTQ2S or questioning, so she wants them to know that the shelter is available to support them, no matter what they are going through.
“All of our youth that face incredible hardships, sometimes when they come out to their families and can have a lot of rejection from society already…it just exacerbates the issue when they’re also queer,” Mulcair said. “It’s something that we deal with a lot on a regular basis.”
After moving from Cold Lake, the Ripkens family attended Edmonton’s Pride for the first time.
“It’s still a support. It’s still a movement. It’s still a bringing together of people who share the same interest and want to support the same thing,” Jae Ripkens said, calling it underwhelming but a “celebration of who we are.”
“As a teacher, you see a lot of students who are in positions of vulnerability such that home is not necessarily a safe place and school is,” said Lara Ripkens, Jae’s mom. “For my own family, just making sure they know I love them, regardless of how they were born.”
Alberta’s Official Opposition, the NDP led by Rachel Notley, was out in full force showing the party’s solidarity with the queer community and targeting Premier Jason Kenney’s new GSA legislation.
“We know that we are stronger as a province when our diversity is celebrated and lifted up,” Notley said. “This is a really important time to make sure that folks here understand that they have a voice.”
– With files from Global News’ Albert Delitala