Kingston Pride celebrated the 32nd annual Pride parade on Sunday and was met with great weather for the occasion.
“The sun is shining on Pride, as it always does. It shone on the parade and it’s been fantastic,” says Festival Director Ted Robinson.
The theme for this year’s Pride parade was “Together Again.” That’s because it’s been over two years since the festivities were held in-person.
“There’s lots of people for whom COVID-19 has been an extremely difficult time with isolation, you know,” says Robinson. “We as a community rely on each other tremendously. So being able to be here and share what’s been happening for each of us in the last 18 months is fantastic.”
While Pride is traditionally celebrated in June, organizers moved the festival to September in hopes of bringing people together safely.
The events at Confederation Park required all attendees to show proof of full vaccination status and safety protocols were in place.
“People are grateful to be here, they’re grateful to be out and about, they’re grateful that we’ve put all of the safety protocols in place that we need to,” says Robinson.
Kingston Pride Chair Ian Burns says Kingston has shown great support for the Queer community.
“People really look to Pride as that symbol of community,” says Burns. “And without that visibility, it’s so much harder to find the people that you want to be with.”
For some Pride-goers, this year marks their first time at the parade.
“I’m very excited to be here,” says Trevor Shyack. “I just came out so it’s like so awesome to be so supported and be in such an amazing city with such supportive people.”
The 2021 Kingston Pride festival marks Shyack’s first parade, and they say they’ve felt welcomed by the Kingston LGBTQ2S+ community.
“You’re able to express yourself and you’re able to feel like you’re part of something bigger, which is really important,” says Shyack. “And it’s having that sense of community and having that sense of belonging in something bigger. And that’s really cool.”
For others, the event brings them strength.
“Me being part of the LGBTQ community, I feel welcome and I feel like very welcome into everything right now and I just feel more empowered,” says Addison Russell.
Sunday’s Pride parade and festivities mark the end of over a week of celebrating the LGBTQ2S+ community.
Kingston Pride says it will have more community events in the coming months to keep Kingstonians involved.
“If you don’t know about the Queer community, take a look at it, make sure you do some research,” says Burns. “And also just talk to people. We’re all people, and we’re all here and we all love.”