Surrey Pride Parade draws small but 'mighty' crowd of supporters
'We're still here, we're not going away,' says festival organizer
Just a few dozen people showed up for this year's Pride Parade in Surrey on Sunday, but organizers say dwindling numbers were likely due to logistical confusion — not diminishing interest.
"It was absolutely mighty," said Shawn Ewing, president of Surrey Pride, about the those attended. "We're still here, we're not going away and we're growing."
During its inaugural year in 2016, the parade drew more than one thousand people.
This year, the festival almost didn't happen until organizer Morgan Montory stepped in at the last minute. The original organizer lost funding and cancelled the march just weeks prior to the event.
"I'd like to think they got confused with the advertisement," Montory said about the shortfall in marchers.
Participants along the way noted there may be a shift happening in the LGBTQ community.
"They're not here, that's quite obvious," said Sister Diversity Rains. "My interpretation now is more people are feeling secure where they are and are forgetting where we've been and what we still need to protect."
In recent years, Pride parades around North America have been criticized for emphasising too much celebration and not enough protest — the founding sentiment of the event.
Montory doesn't want the hostility of the Stonewall Riots to return but the "younger generation just needs to know the history and how it all started."
Although gay rights have progressed significantly in the last 50 years, participants say support for the movement needs to continue.
"We still need marches, absolutely we still need to be raising awareness," said Gioia Breda.