Through My Lens: A Sea of Pride
Stoo Metz dedicates parade photos to elder queers who struggled for rights
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.
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.
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.