Show­ing their pride

Large pa­rade crowd helps wrap up Pride Week on P.E.I.

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY MITCH MACDON­ALD

Danny Evans re­mem­bers march­ing in the first Pride Pa­rade ever held on P.E.I. dur­ing the early 1980s.

Evans, a self-de­scribed “fe­male il­lu­sion­ist” who also uses the name Am­ber, can even re­mem­ber what he was wear­ing while march­ing from the bot­tom of Queen Street to the Con­fed­er­a­tion Cen­tre of the Arts

“A black leather evening gown,” said Evans, who has be­come a fa­mil­iar face at the pa­rade by go­ing as Am­ber ev­ery year.

Evans of­ten walks along while strik­ing poses and tak­ing pic­tures with the crowd.

In fact, when Evans was asked to serve as this year’s pa­rade mar­shall, he de­clined the usual choice of rid­ing in a con­vert­ible.

Like he has done so many times be­fore, Evans wanted to walk the route on Satur­day.

“I like to bounce around and yell…. You’ve got to walk,” said Evans, who added that he’s never felt ‘un­ac­cepted.’ “But as I see more and more peo­ple (at­tend), I feel more and more ac­cepted.

“It’s amaz­ing be­cause this gives, not only me, but ev­ery­body a chance to be who they are.”

The pa­rade, which started at the gov­ern­ment build­ings and ended with Pride in the Park at Rochford Square, was the largest in re­cent years.

More than 70 groups were reg­is­tered.

“It makes us re­ally hope­ful when each year gets big­ger and big­ger. We know we’re do­ing some­thing right,” said Chelsey Roger­son, com­mu­ni­ca­tions co-or­di­na­tor with Pride P.E.I. “We’re re­ally proud.”

Apart from par­tic­i­pants, the pa­rade route was also lined with onlookers.

The sup­port was most no­table when the pa­rade turned onto Grafton Street, which saw a large crowd pro­vide some thun­der­ous ap­plause.

“It was amaz­ing to see so much ac­cep­tance,” said Alex Beat­tie, chair of Pride P.E.I. “You hear so much that P.E.I. is like go­ing back in time… but to see such an amaz­ing turnout and so much sup­port that’s growing ev­ery year, it means the world to us.”

Pride Week ended with the Pride After Dark party Satur­day night at the Delta Prince Ed­ward.

Drag queens Brooke Rivers and Trin­ity Foxx both came from Fred­er­ic­ton to take part in the pa­rade as well as per­form dur­ing the wrap-up party.

Un­sure of what to ex­pect, the two said they were hav­ing a great time.

“We didn’t know com­ing here how we would be per­ceived…. it’s been so much fun,” said Rivers. “Every­one is so friendly on the Is­land, it’s just fan­tas­tic to be here.”

Evans has been an ac­tive vol­un­teer with the Pride com­mu­nity for decades, from serv­ing on the AIDS P.E.I. board of di­rec­tors, to run­ning the gay and les­bian phone line and be­ing a mem­ber of the Pride P.E.I. com­mit­tee.

“And even be­fore that I hosted monthly par­ties at my house,” said Evans.

How­ever, he has never con­sid­ered himself an “ac­tivist” for the com­mu­nity.

“I’m just Am­ber. I go out and have fun, I make peo­ple like me and I like peo­ple. And that’s all it should be,” said Evans. “You shouldn’t have to fight for your rights, you should just have them. I’ve al­ways just felt I had the right and I do it.”

Mean­while, Vic­to­ria-by theSea will hold its first ever Pride pa­rade to­day at 11:30 p.m.

BRIAN MCIN­NIS/THE GUARDIAN

Justeann Hansen, left and Lora Ser­res, were two of the par­tic­i­pants in the an­nual Pride pa­rade through the streets of Char­lot­te­town Satur­day. The streets were lined with spec­ta­tors who watched as the pa­rade made its way to Rochford Square for a pride in the park cel­e­bra­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.