Windsor Essex Pride Fest kicks off at city hall

Several people tell their stories about coming out to their friends and family at Pride flag raising ceremony at city hall.
Grace Mineau attended the Pride flag-raising ceremony at city hall Wednesday. (Laura DaSilva/CBC)

Worried about whether she'd be accepted as a pansexual, Grace Mineau came out to her mother while the two discussed dinner plans.

When Mineau revealed she is pansexual, a person who thinks gender identification is irrelevant when it comes to love, her mom responded with a simple question: So, are we going to McDonald's or are we getting Chinese food?

Being accepted by her family was an important step, explained Mineau, who shared her story while at the Windsor Pride flag-raising ceremony outside city hall.

Several people at the event talked about the pressures and fears of revealing their sexuality to their friends and family.

"If you want to come out, do it in a way that makes you feel comfortable," Mineau said. "When someone really does care about you, it won't matter to them."

Stephen Drouin had advice for anyone worried about attending the week's Windsor Essex Pride Fest events before they've come out to friends and family. 

Stephen Drouin urges anyone of any gender or sexual orientation to enjoy Windsor Essex Pride Fest.

"I would just say come on out to the festivities," he said. "We're here to just be accepting in the best way possible and just allow anyone to come, whether you're an ally, whether you're straight, bisexual, gay, anything."

Several politicians attended the Pride event, including Windsor West MP Brian Masse and Essex MP Tracey Ramsey.

Mayor Drew Dilkens told the crowd why his voice is important during Pride celebrations. 

"It's my job to ensure that our city is inclusive, that our city is welcoming, that our city is full of love and compassion, that it's full of acceptance and it's full of solidarity," he told the crowd.