Pride parade family affair for St. John's filmmaker, newly out uncle

Dunn is home from Toronto to support his uncle who, after 47 years, is coming out as gay.

Stephen Dunn and his uncle Paddy Healey will march in Sunday Pride parade for 1st time

Stephen Dunn, left, and his uncle Paddy Healey will be marching in the St. John's Pride parade on Sunday — a first for both of them. (Paula Gale/CBC)

Nearly half a century after realizing he's gay, Paddy Healey of St. John's has decided to come out to family and friends. And to mark the occasion, he'll be marching in the city's Pride parade for the first time — with his nephew by his side. 

It won't be a first just for Healey, 60; his nephew Stephen Dunn — a well-known filmmaker now living in Toronto — will also be marching for the first time.

"I had no idea that we had so much in common," Dunn told CBC's St. John's Morning Show on Friday.

"It's been a bit hard for him, and I decided to come home for the Pride parade this year to take Paddy so we could go together. I'm really excited about it."

The two had a conversation about being gay a few weeks ago in a coffee shop at the Avalon Mall.

"I confessed this, and I felt a bit better by doing it," said Healey, who realized he was gay when he was 13. "I'm glad I did because I don't have to hide it now."

Healey said his mother told him she always knew, but that he never spoke openly about it with his family.

"I'm feeling happier. It's good to get it out because it's good to get rid of the stress of it."

Closet Monster is a coming of age story about a young Newfoundlander who tries to break away from his toxic family while also discovering his sexuality. (Twitter/Westdale Theatre)

Dunn, however, has always been open about his sexual orientation. One of his films, Closet Monster, is about a gay high school student trying to figure out his place in the world.

"For me, coming out, it was just knowing there were other people out there, that there is a community of people that were just like us, you don't feel so alone."

It's Dunn's first time marching in a Pride parade. In the past, he said, he's just watched from the sidelines.

The parade starts at City Hall at 1 p.m. Sunday, and continues to Bannerman Park for a picnic at 3 p.m.

With files from St. John's Morning Show