British Columbia

Surrey Pride Parade draws small but 'mighty' crowd of supporters

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.

'We're still here, we're not going away,' says festival organizer

Morgan Montory (right) decided to resuscitate Surrey's Pride parade after it was cancelled to let others in the community know, 'we're here and that it's okay." (Doug Kerr/CBC)

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."

Some of the small but 'mighty' supporters who showed up and had a little fun at Surrey's Pride Parade on Sunday. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

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."

Sister Diversity Rains strolled past some of the many vendors set up in Holland Park in Surrey during Pride festival on Sunday. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

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.

'Happy Surrey Pride!' chanted this group of participants at this year's Surrey Pride Festival. (Doug Kerr/CBC)
One of the colourful and creative costumes donned by a marcher in Surrey's Pride Parde. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

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