Toronto Pride Parade & Canada Day 2012

Toronto Pride Parade 2012

It’s quite fitting that the 32nd Pride Parade in Toronto happens to fall on Canada Day, because when I think of Canada I think of diversity, people of all stripes. The parade, like the country, is a rainbow of people with differing ideologies, ethnicities, ages, religions, politics, lifestyles, body types, professions, supported causes, handicaps, and genders. For people who are part of the visible majority a parade may not be a big deal, but for those who identify with the minority — visible or invisible — this is YOUR day.

Toronto Pride Parade 2012

Toronto Pride Parade 2012

Last week when I was Vancouver I was explaining my reasons for the Turning 40 Series to my friends. I said that part of my motivation is that I imagine what kind of society I want to live in, and this is my contribution towards a society where people accept each other (differences and all), are kind to each other, support and help each other. I do not personally know of anyone who has done what I’m doing, and I want to change that… (if that isn’t a big clue, I don’t know what is!) I don’t know if this act will become commonplace in society during my lifetime, but at least I am doing my part. The last thing I want to be is one of those people who complains about society and does nothing about it.

Toronto Pride Parade 2012

But widescale change does not happen overnight. Canada is 145 years old today, which is very young by world standards. We have a long way to go before we get rid of bigotry, prejudices, and fear. You might be wondering what good a parade can possibly do for a city, let alone an entire country, besides boost the local economy a little by bringing in spectators and corporate floats.

Toronto Pride Parade 2012

Toronto Pride Parade 2012

I’ll tell you, I shot hundreds of photos of people this afternoon who were standing together, smiling and laughing and representing all walks of life. Without the gathering, without the parade banners, how would you know who they are and who they represent? Many of these people are the visible and invisible minority in this country. Further, minorities within minorities — eg., Ontario Rainbow Alliance For The Deaf, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (sparking controversy), Totally Naked Toronto Men Enjoying Nudity (yes, I’ve got photos of them, too).

Toronto Pride Parade 2012

I’m proud to live in a country where its citizens have a right to live freely, and those rights are protected. People come to Canada to escape from persecution*, and we must uphold these values, as a nation. The Pride Parade is a way to remind us of our values — that we need to be accepting, that we shouldn’t live in fear of each other.

Happy Canada Day!

Toronto Pride Parade 2012

*the current federal government’s recently passed cuts to refugee health care notwithstanding

There are 196 photos in the Pride Parade set! There are six shots which are definitely NSFW, so I’m skipping the auto slideshow as they will all show up in an RSS Reader. Here’s the link to the full-screen slideshow if you aren’t at work or this isn’t an issue, and the link to the thumbnails if you prefer to preview the set and selectively view larger.