The rainbow flag is flying over Kingston. June is Pride month. And the high point of this weekend was Saturday’s Pride parade and community fair.
It was a case of they’re loud, they’re proud, and on Saturday they made a whole lot of noise on the streets of the Limestone City. Hundreds of people made their way down Princess Street in the annual event.
Anne-Marie Kooiman, with Kingston Pride, which organized the event, says this Pride parade was Kingston’s largest ever.
“It was amazing. I couldn’t believe it — I thought it was over and there was more coming,” Kooiman said. “I think what’s important to Kingston Pride is inclusion — ensuring that there’s a safe space for everyone to feel like they belong in this community.”
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The parade itself was large, and the crowd that came out to watch it pass by was also impressive.
“One lady we met who came to say hello, she’s the one who started the first one 30 years ago,” said parade grand marshall Rear Admiral Luc Cassivi, who had a bird’s-eye view of the crowd. “They couldn’t get a permit. They had to walk on the sidewalk and it was very small, so I imagine for them seeing the size and the spirit of community that’s there is amazing.”
CFB Kingston commander Col. Kirk Gallinger was also on hand for his first Pride parade.
“Certainly as the base commander, I’m very proud we’re able to offer this opportunity and come out and show we are an inclusive workspace. We have members who are gay, bisexual, transgender serving amongst us and with us and it’s very important that we demonstrate our support for them and that we are an inclusive organization.”
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After another successful Pride parade, Kooiman stressed that we’re all trying to do our best to make people feel like they’re wanted and included, and that their skills are valued regardless of their orientation.
For many on hand, the common goal was coming together to voice one message: acceptance.