Pride sees growth in Ste Agathe
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 05/07/2021 (401 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
For the second year in a row, and despite public health orders barring large festivals and gatherings, residents from Ste Agathe and beyond took to the streets to show their pride.
A 30+ vehicle procession which cruised through the francophone community on June 27 included colourful clothing, flags and decorated vehicles to celebrate Pride month. Residents and visitors from as far as Winnipeg set up chairs and perched in the back of trucks to watch the dozens of motorists on the Pembina Trail.
The parade, organized by Ste Agathe resident Ember Klaassen, is the second Pride event under the 18-year-old’s belt. Last year’s inaugural motorcade came together in just six days.
Klaassen said they were surprised to receive messages from friends and strangers alike asking to be part of this year’s festivities as restrictions barred many Pride events planned for other parts of the province.
“It’s so heartwarming, and then you realize, like, wow, this is actually happening. I’m doing this. People can come to the parade and be themselves,” they said.
“It is so important for everyone to know that it’s okay to be anything they want.”
Steinbach and Winnipeg Pride organizers cancelled their annual summer events, replacing them with virtual celebrations and the hope of organizing something come fall. Winnipeg Pride plans to have a virtual event in September and Steinbach Pride put all plans on hold to focus on planning for their fifth march in 2022.
Despite the cancellations, Klaassen said they have been doing their part in educating themselves on the meaning of Pride including reading up on the Stonewall riots, a series of demonstrations by the LGBTQ community in 1969 which sparked Pride events and visibility of the gay community in subsequent years.
“I learned from last year that it’s not the parade that is the big thing, it’s not the fact that we’re all gathering in one place and celebrating this, it’s the fact that we can, we’re allowed to now,” they said.
They said finding a community within Ste Agathe to be open about their sexuality in the last two years since coming out as gay has been a large part of finding peace and happiness. Now, after having two events on their resume, Klaassen said Pride month is even more meaningful, finding new connections and friendships in the queer community.
“There’s a lot of queer people in this town, which we didn’t realize. And it’s just so good knowing that we all support each other no matter what.”
The support for the Pride parade extended beyond those in attendance with a rainbow flag hung at the RM of Ritchot municipal building over the weekend as an act of solidarity with the organizers and participants of the motor brigade. Ward 3 Councilor Curtis Claydon said while he wasn’t in attendance due to a prior engagement, he was “there in spirit.”