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