Winnipeg celebrates Pride Day
Published Sunday, June 6, 2010 3:32PM CST
This year's Pride Parade was the biggest yet, with more floats than ever before.
"We're thrilled to see that the community is overwhelmingly onboard for this year's Pride celebrations," said Barb Burkowski, Chair of the Pride Winnipeg committee.
"We're seeing a growing number of members of the LGBTTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Two-Spirited, Queer) community, our friends, family members, and supporters who want to be a part of Pride Day festivities, and this year's parade will be one that members of the community at large won't want to miss," added Burkowski.
Former Winnipeg mayor Glen Murray, a founding member of the Winnipeg Pride planning committee, spoke at a rally at the legislature.
He told the crowd of thousands that he remembered when they parade started as a group of about 50 people, with about 12 of them wearing paper bags over their heads.
Murray was the first openly gay mayor of a major Canadian city and he is now a Toronto-area MPP.
Parade-goers said spirits were especially high this year and many came dressed to the nines.
Marcher Alley Yapput's outfit was "S and M bondage meets two-spirit powwow."
"You just have to live your life and be who you are and this is what we are today," Yapput said.
Organizers also spoke about the struggles the LGBTTQ community faces.
"Schools can be an issue, with bullying," Burkowski said. "Even in the workplace there are people who are not comfortable having gays and lesbians in the work place."
The Canadian Federation of Students was at the event voicing concerns over a decision by Canadian Blood Services officials to not accept blood donations from gay men.
Manitoba Chairperson Alanna Makinson said the ban was put in place in the 1980s over fears of blood tainted with HIV, but medical knowledge has improved and the ban is no longer necessary.
The national student campaign includes buttons, posters and an emails calling on the federal health minister to repeal the policy.
- with a report from CTV's Stacey Ashley
Pride Day Events
12:00 p.m. The Rally at the Legislature will feature speakers including Glen Murray and performances from The Rainbow Harmony Project and the RRC Youth Group.
12:30 p.m. The Pride Parade down Broadway will see thousands of people and dozens of floats make up the most colourful parade in Winnipeg.
1:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. A free outdoor festival at The Forks will feature live music by Jeff Straker and R&B Superstar Deborah Cox. There will be a family fun zone and a beer and beverage tent.