It's the most wonderful time of the year!
This week is my most favourite week in the whole year. I just love this festive season...with it's twinkling lights, traditional songs and time honoured family rituals that capture the true spirit of these special times . Of course in this case the families are mostly "chosen" the songs are 80's pop anthems and the twinkles come from the sequined gowns of the more than fabulous drag queens!
I'm of course talking about Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Gay, Transgendered and Queer Pride week and the smiles on all the gay faces never fails to bring a tear to my eye and joy to my heart.
Ten years ago as I sat on the Via train moving from Toronto to Winnipeg I was struck with fear. Pride Toronto had just ended and I was shocked to realize that more people attend that single queer event then live in the whole province of Manitoba! But little did I know that my move would illuminate for me the true meaning of Christmas, ummm Pride.
The star at the top of the pride tree is the Sunday afternoon parade. Ten thousand people are expected to watch or march...and if you figure half that crowd are women than that makes 5000 people I could potentially date! But surprisingly enough that's not what makes the day so special. Ever since those 250 brave citizens marched in Winnipeg's first gay parade way back in 1987 this parade has been about people. While other larger cities have seen their parades shift from marching to marketing and from advocating to advertising the 'peg parade is still way more community than corporate.
Size matters and for me that means a parade where I can find my friends and meet new ones. Where I can march for a few blocks and then sit back on the road's shoulder and watch my people prance proudly by, only to get up again when a float cruises close with a particularly irresistible song. It means that I can dance down Broadway avenue and wave at all the straight people who have come down to support us all the while basking in the glow of the community that has my back every other day of the year when the well wishers are much rarer.
And for you straight people wondering, "what's in it for me?" -- levity is like laughter and gaiety is completely contagious (unfortunately for me -- not in a literal sense). Besides there's nothing quite so fabulous as celebrating Christmas in June.