It was better late than never for the Queen City Pride this weekend.
The week-long festival, which normally takes place in June but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, began its traditional wrap up Saturday afternoon with a vehicle-driven version of its marquee parade through the centre of Regina.
While the participants were as enthusiastic as ever, event organizer Dan Shier noted the usually more than 100 entries were limited to 30 this year. Although the turnout was also seemingly smaller than in years past, he said he appreciated the response of the people who supported the event from alongside the streets.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected the health and wellness of LGBTQ communities, including locally, Shier told Global News.
“Having pride and a parade still happen, I think is both symbolic of our community and being part of a visible event,” he said. “But it’s also an opportunity for us to gather in some way or fashion.
“We know that access to health care and mental health services and just general wellness for our community was already difficult for some people, challenging for some people, before the pandemic. So with the additional barriers of social isolation and a lot of services being limited in terms of how you can access them, it definitely impacted our community.”
Queen City Pride’s parade came one day after Moose Jaw police charged two young offenders in connection with a bullying incident involving a transgender girl in that city.
“There are a lot of different reasons why it’s important for pride to exist,” Shier said.
“Education is one of the best ways we know of to help bring awareness and equity to the community. Whether its instances of bullying and homophobia and transphobia, or the fact that there’s still a large section of the community that doesn’t feel that they can be out and who they are because of their gender identity, sexual orientation, the colour of their skin or where they come from — there’s a lot of barriers still today.”
Shier said Queen City Pride doesn’t “quite know what to anticipate” for 2021.
“Because we’ve gone through this whole physically distant and remote pride once this time, we feel like we’re going to be a lot more prepared for next year, whether it’s physical distancing in limited numbers or whether we can do something a little bit more all out.”