The Halifax Pride Festival is back after a two-year hiatus and Nova Scotians showed up in big numbers.
Saturday’s parade began at noon with hundreds of people in downtown Halifax sporting various rainbow flags.
Parade attendee Stevie Von Snaps, with the Pictou County Rainbow Community, said Pride is a mission for them.
“I started performing when I was 16 years old in drag, and I’ve been openly gay in a small town since I was 13,” Von Snaps said.
“Really it’s kind of been a mission since I was 13 or 14 years old to try and make the small towns a bit more accepting of people like us.”
The parade route began on Ahern Avenue by Citadel High School and circled the hill to reach the festival site on Bell Road.
Chris Aucoin, the executive director of the AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia, said he’s happy to see a big turnout this year.
“Visibility and representation is crucial, especially for kids,” said Aucoin at the parade.
“To see people in public, to see people on TV, to see people in the streets and say ‘we’re here, we’re queer and welcome’ is really really important for someone who’s struggling.”
While Pride has largely become a celebration of identity, it’s still a chance to advocate for change, said Aucoin.
“The truest measure of equality in society is if you have the same life expectancy, if you have the same outcomes in terms of diseases and substance use, patterns and suicide rates, and all those kinds of things.
“The queer community still lagging far far behind on those metrics so for me, that’s the goal we’re still working towards.”
Some attendees and local organizations took to social media to show their Pride and allyship.