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Through My Lens: A Sea of Pride

Ever since a photograph taken at the end of the Halifax Pride parade went viral in 2014, photographer Stoo Metz has been dedicating his Pride photography to elder queers who struggled for LGBTQ+ rights.

Stoo Metz dedicates parade photos to elder queers who struggled for rights

Published by CBC Communications

It's become a tradition for Halifax photographer Stoo Metz to capture the end of the Halifax Pride parade each year. Here's what they captured at the last parade in 2019. (Stoo Metz)
It all started with an iPhone photo I took from the back of a float during the 2014 Halifax Pride Parade. It was the Menz & Mollyz Bar float — I was dancing and my attention was focused on the people ahead of us. 


As I took a step back for a quick drink of water, I glanced behind me. Coming up Spring Garden Road behind our float was a giant sea of colour. It was a sea of Pride.

I felt a sudden sense of professional responsibility and knew instinctively I needed to capture that moment in a photo.

I got off the float headed to the Garrison Grounds for the post-parade festivities, uploading the photo to my Facebook page. While dancing and enjoying the drag show on stage, I realized the photo was very quickly getting shared all over social media, as well as on national and international news — it had gone viral.

This photo of thousands of people following the final float in the 2014 Halifax Pride Parade went viral after photographer Stoo Metz posted it to social media. (Stoo Metz)

I decided then and there to dedicate that photo to every single elder queer activist who had fought and sacrificed so much so that the rest of us could enjoy moments like these.

I remember when parades were marches. In my hometown, I walked in a march where people wore bags over their heads. There were no floats — there was no loud music. But there was a Member of Parliament delivering a speech in the House of Commons to stop it from happening.

It's important to remember the work our elder queers have done to give us the Pride parades, the festivals and the rights we enjoy. They are people like Anne Fulton, Raymond Taavel (a gay activist killed outside a Halifax bar in 2012) and Robin Metcalfe. It makes me think of Before the Parade, the book by Rebecca Rose.

In 2020, in the midst of a pandemic, the Halifax Pride Festival was primarily a virtual event. There was no parade to photograph. 

Instead, I participated in a march, which led to a memorial vigil at Raymond Taavel Park. 

With no Pride Parade in Halifax in 2020, Stoo Metz chose to photograph the memorial vigil at Raymond Taavel Park. (Stoo Metz)

It was an evening highly charged with emotion. At the end of the night, as we all quietly reflected on those who are no longer with us, I snapped a shot of the hundreds of lit candles. It was to be my "parade photo" for 2020. 

And like all the other parade photos I have taken in years past, I dedicate it to the hard work and sacrifices made by those who came before me.


Through My Lens is a new community series that features the point-of-view stories behind photos from across the East Coast.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stoo Metz

Contributor

Stoo Metz is a full-tme freelance photographer, social media coordinator and actor. You can find their photos and connect with them on Instagram at @stoometzphoto or on their website www.stoometz.com.

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