On June 13th last year, hundreds of people flooded the streets of downtown Kingston for the annual Pride parade, celebrating the LGBTQ2 community. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pride is being celebrated differently this year.
“Pride is not something that you can cancel,” says Ted Robinson, who was the festival director for last year’s Pride festival.
This year marks 31 years for Kingston Pride, an organization that promotes awareness for the LGBTQ2 community.
But when the pandemic shut down life as we know it, the group rallied with creative ways to still allow people to celebrate pride month safely.
“We requested people decorate themselves, their home, their car, their dog, so that they would send photographs to us so that we could create a virtual parade,” said Robinson.
Shown in the virtual parade was the vice chair of Kingston’s Pride board, Steve Wallace.
“Always be proud of yourself and know that you’re not alone,” Wallace said.
Messages spoken in the video serve as a reminder that Pride is not just an event but a way of life for many.
“Pride is a movement, it is a state of mind. … Pride is something that began 51 years ago as fighting back and it lives within people,” said Robinson.
The Kingston Pride started raising awareness in 1989. Now, homes and businesses across town are seen decorating their store fronts, patios and windows in Pride colours and friendly messages to the LGBTQ2 community.
“It’s important to show our support and show the community what we believe in and celebrate with everyone,” said Maddie Barrison, a server at Dianne’s Fish Shack and Smokehouse, one of several patios decked out in pride.
But the celebration doesn’t end on Saturday. Virtual Pride festivities will continue until June 20. Events include Queer-antine-prom, drag queen bingo and more.
“They just need to go to Kingstonpride.ca to see what those events are and I encourage everyone to do so,” said Robinson.