EDITORIAL:Pride equal parts celebration and advocacy

It’s doubtful the query was an honest one but we will bite.

As the news broke of Pride coloured sidewalks sponsored by PEC Community Partners were coming to Picton in the spirit of celebration, a person reading the story on social media openly wondered why this annual designation that fetes the LGBTQ2S+ gains that community has made over the last number of decades needed to continue in Picton. A

fter all, weren’t we living in a land where gay marriage was no longer blocked by law?

By October, gay men can give blood freely in Canada without a deferal period Canadian Blood Services and Health Canada have scrapped this discriminatory policy.

Trans rights in Canada have grown in leaps in bounds over the last decade and even Bill C-4 , the legislation that would ban harmful conversion therapy, was endorsed by members of all parties in the House of Commons and passed with unanimous cross party support in December of last year.

Through any number of lenses that peer back into the pages of time-recent and more historic-, it could be argued advances that foster and protect the rights and freedoms of members of Canada’s LGBTQ2S+ community have never been more prevalent and widely accepted as of this date.

And those gains in the halls of power and elsewhere in society seem to continue in a positive, upward trend. That’s if you are simply cherry picking the positive inroads and ignoring the ugliness online and in person.

Like the Pride flag that colours Canada’s Oldest  Community Newspaper’s banner this week, the annual June celebration of Pride is multi-layered.

Yes, there have been advances for the LGBTQ2S+ community in Canada and those can’t be understated or ignored.

But we would suggest Pride is also about advocacy that “Love is Love” and this annual celebration must continue until those with the hardened hearts and close minds learn valued members of our community are longer a target for their ugly hate.

One only needs to look at nearby Newburgh where a Pride-coloured boulder painted by event organizers at Hollow Square Market was defaced in a clear and very public hate crime. Meanwhile, rainbow flags flying at Newburgh and Tamworth Public Schools were stolen.

Also this weekend in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, 31 members of the white nationalist group Patriot Front were arrested with riot gear, batons and smoke bombs before they could disrupt that town’s Pride celebration. There is much to celebrate and honour in the LGBTQ2S+ community and we fully support a larger scale Pride celebration in 2023 if COVID has subsided.

The legacy of the Stonewall Riots and all the slow and steady gains made since that day have made our world a much better place to live.

But Pride must also continue in an expanded role year-after-year in our community as a clear sign hate and discrimination do not have safe harbour in Prince Edward County or anywhere else.

-JASON PARKS

PICTURING OUR COMMUNITY

Drag fan June Wollenberg spends time with performers (Left) Lucy Flawless and (Right) Katinka Kature at the 2022 Pride Party Drag Extravaganza hosted at 555 Brewery on Sunday evening. (Submitted Photo)