As well as being the Canada Day long weekend, two weekends ago was also the end of Pride week in Toronto, which culminated with the annual Gay Pride Parade.
A week before the parade, Red informed me that a friend of her uncles’ had asked if she wanted to be on his float in the parade. As i usually do when she asks me if I want to do something that sounds potentially insane with her, I said, “Yeah, ok,” before thinking it through or asking for too many details.
So it was only after I’d agreed that I found out we’d be on the Anglican float. This gave me pause. “Hold on,” I said. “Is it going to be a problem that we’re not Anglican…or gay for that matter?”
She assured me it would be fine, and that the man who’d invited us was already hard at work on our costumes, so there was no backing out now. We’d be a couple of straight heathens on the Anglican gay pride float.
And so it was, that ten years after same-sex marriage was legalized in Canada and a couple of days after DOMA was ruled unconstitutional in the States, I donned some very tight, very green superhero tights and more feathers than an ostrich and joined in the celebration.
I’ve attended the parade before, and while it’s always a great time, with good vibes and lots of laughs, the thing I remember most was how moved I was seeing the group of families of gay people march by, parading their unconditional love and support for their children/sisters/brothers etc. The friend I was with and I just turned to each other with tears in our eyes and I know we were both thinking that this is exactly the kind of love and support we all deserve.
It was so much fun to see the parade from the other side. It means so much to so many people, and as mentioned, is just such a hilarious good time with so much positive energy and humour floating around. I have never felt more like a celebrity in all my life. Countless people stopped us to ask if they could take our photos as we pranced through the city. I have never hugged, shook hands with, or high-fived so many hundreds of strangers (including this super cool little dude, whose dad mentioned us in is Huffington Post piece on the parade). It was absolutely surreal.
I had a riot running along the barricades, shouting Happy Pride! to the crowd, who would scream as though I was the actual Green Lantern, or maybe just Ryan Reynolds.
We were sweaty and exhausted by the end of the parade and I was pretty sure my hat had given me a neck injury, but I wouldn’t have traded that crazy day of celebration of love and tolerance for anything.