Opinion, Review

Event Review: Pride Month 2016

After growing up thinking I was straight, I discovered that was a grey asexual four years ago. Despite that, I’ve never felt comfortable enough to attend a Pride.

Since England is pretty conservative, and my orientation is still regarded as ‘invisible’, I remained pretty much in the closet, and only confessing to a few close to me. Still, it was scary, and I relate to the LGBT people, for having that fear of coming out whatever their sexuality.

Being in Canada, all that has changed. June in Toronto saw, not just the usual Pride Week, but the first ever Pride Month. Since the Great White North is way more liberal than the UK, Pride’s You Can Sit With Us campaign promoted inclusiveness, open-mindedness and acceptance; I feel way more comfortable here.

It’s all okay now. So, for the first time in my life, I felt I could be part of a Pride.

And so, I was.

Out of the many events, I was only able to take part in three:


 

Pride Flag Raising Ceremony

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Keen to be part of Pride Month, I hightailed it to City Hall to see the month in.

The atmosphere was filled with excitement, positivity, and awesomeness in anticipation for the month ahead. We even had a free BBQ! Mayor John Tory attended, and gave a speech. Pride has always been a political event, and to see modern-day politicians get on board (again, not something that would be seen in England, at least), and celebrate the LGBT+ was cool.

With the many speeches given, I did lose track over how many letters were said: LGBTQ what?

You know, there is a reason for the Plus (+) after all the letters…


Free Flicks: Mean Girls

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The best event was the Harbourfront Centre’s Free Flicks screening of Mean Girls (2004 – starring Lindsey Lohan, Rachel McAdams, and Tina Fey). I loved it. With all of us wearing pink, we got adorned with stickers of the Pride rainbow, saying “Fetch” on them, and watched the movie on a big screen at the Westjet Stage with the lake behind us underneath the moonlight. It was packed!

I hated this movie when I first saw it, because I didn’t like how mean Cady (Lohan) got. This time, I saw it differently, especially seeing how many LGBT+ references there are, and why it’s their cult film. Damian is gay (“he’s too gay to function”), Janis is a lesbian (or is she?), and Cady – quite subtly – is bisexual. She lusts after Aaron, but she does eye up the Queen Bee. (I did tell a very lovely gay man in the washroom* that she was bi, and he hadn’t even though of that himself.) I think being neutral myself I could spot that.

Many of this year’s Pride mottos came from this picture:

  1. Fetch = awesome.
  2. You can’t sit with us = you can sit with us
  3. It was Wednesday = we wore pink. Naturally.

There were so many fans in the audience. Even some members of the cast, including Daniel Franzene, made an appearance in person on stage. Lindsey Lohan and Tina Fey taking part in online interviews during the interval.

My favourite scene? When Cady saves the Jingle Bells Rock dance.


The Pride Parade

⭐ ⭐ and a half

On 3rd July, the final event to close off Pride was the big event that all of us were looking forward to.

Armed with my Rainbow flag, I was standing at Youge and College with a group of my friends, and my parents, who were visiting from Australia.

The march started off with a sombre feeling by paying tribute to the Orlando shooting victims at the Pulse gay club. Every single person’s name was written up on a board with their age underneath. It bought home about how young they were, so it made you think. It also got even more commercial and political with many companies advertising themselves, via support, and the police showing they were on the side of Pride.

The best parts:

  1. There was a balcony of onlookers, all dressed up as the British Monarchy making them look rather gay (and it was hilarious)!
  2. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau marched – in a pink shirt – while waving a Canadian flag of the rainbow colours. Win.
  3. Asexual group marched with our purple and grey flags. Win.

I loved how everyone was together, marching and cheering together in the name of LGBT+ support.

The worst parts:

  1. The 30 minutes with a protest sit-in by one of the ‘honorary’ groups, which completely dampened the joyful, and togetherness, feeling of Pride.**
  2. Contending with two grumpy drag queens for nearly an hour!
  3. The march losing momentum after the standstill, and it went on for far too long.

I was saddened by this, because of the unnecessary stop, which put a huge damper on the event. Since it was my first ever time attending a Pride parade, I wanted it to be great. It could have been so much better than what it was, especially since our Prime Minister was there in support.


Ok, it wasn’t perfect. But I’m resting on the fact that at least I got to be part of it. I got the fake tattoos, a rainbow flag, and I wore pink. As I’ve said on my Instagram before in memory of the Orlando victims:

Love is love, and no-one chooses their orientation; they are what they are, and they love who they love. One cannot help who they attracted to, whichever kind the attraction is, and notwithstanding cannot help who they fall in love with.

I stood for this on Sunday, and I always will. I’m proud to be a demi-romantic asexual. My flag may be grey and purple, but I will continue to wear the rainbow colours with pride for Pride.

Note: Canada tends to use the term LGBTQ (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans Queer). One of my relationships uses LGBTAA (Asexual and Aromantic). I use the British term of LGBT+ because it's a huge spectrum of many sexualities, genders and orientations. I want to include them all, as well as pansexuals.

* The washroom got gender-neutral with it being a Pride event, and quite fittingly so close after the debates on everyone using the same bathrooms. I quite liked the liberation.

** The group was Black Lives Matter. They were demanding that the police must no longer take part in future Pride marches with booths or floats. I understand the past activism to all the stupid shootings in the States. But, this one has actually made me quite angry, because the march was about Pride, not them (no one got shot at the event, so there was no need for it). It was almost as if they didn't care about anyone else, hence became "No One Else Matters". Also, all lives matter, not just theirs. The indigenous people marched and they didn't protest, despite all the mass suicides lately. Pride is about inclusion, and it's not the time to start excluding people. Five days on, this has gained more media attention than Pride itself. So, so, so disappointing.

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