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Miles to Go: A Few Pride Facts

By Aless Piper

June 23, 2013

Aless Piper

Aless Piper

When I think about Pride, this is what I think about:

Halifax: According to Gay Halifax, Pride events in Halifax date back to 1973, predating the first march by fifteen years, with a picnic hosted by the Gay Alliance for Equality (GAE), which had been founded the year before.

Although there were several events like marches before, the first Pride "march" was in 1988. It was attended by seventy-five, a few of those with paper bags over their heads, "not out of shame, but out of the very real fear for their livelihoods, and even possibly their safety." (Gay Halifax)

Last year, at Pride 25, there were so many people, both participating and lining the streets, watching. And it was amazing to be one of those lining the streets.

Equal marriage in Canada: Canada legalized equal marriage for gays and lesbians nationwide, July 20, 2005. Starting in 2003, same-sex marriage had been legalized in eight out of ten provinces and one of three territories. Wikipedia says that "most legal benefits commonly associated with marriage had been extended to cohabiting same-sex couples since 1999."

What I remember about July 2005 is being on tenterhooks about whether it would pass nationally -- Paul Martin's Liberals had a minority government at the time. Thankfully it did pass, and when Stephen Harper became PM and tried to reopen the issue in 2006, fulfilling a campaign promise, it was reaffirmed by a vote of 175 to 123. I also remember being in the chair at my salon when my hairstylist told me he and his partner were getting married and the smile that did not leave my face for weeks.

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We're all rooting for the U.S. to pass equal marriage in all states; it is past time.

Uganda: Last year saw Uganda's first Pride. The pictures from it show courageous people marching at great personal risk -- check out my Pride collection on Pinterest to see some of them.

I looked online, and at least one blog says there will be another this year.

Basically: how far y'all have come. But I am also mindful of the many, many miles to go before we sleep.

DOMA is not dead yet, and until it is, heartbreaking stories like this one found on Upworthy will continue in the U.S.

Russia recently passed heinous anti-gay laws, leading to a rash of hate crimes. Please consider signing this petition.

Finally, at Pride, especially, my friends Lauren and Rob, who were both fierce, proud, queer activists are never far from my thoughts. Lauren would encourage those with privilege to use it to elevate others, and Rob would remind me that when we talk about LGBT rights, we are talking about L,G,B, and seldom T, that there is much work to be done to further the rights of transgender individuals.

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