After two years of scrapped Capital Pride Parades, the 2022 parade made a record-breaking comeback on a sunny, hot, August, Ottawa afternoon. It took over 90 minutes for the 185 colourful floats and 7,500 participants to pass by.
Humanist Canada took the lead, organizing a joint, collaborative parade entry with CFI Canada, Ontario Humanist Society, and Humanist Ottawa. Our banner, which included the four associations’ logos, proclaimed an important message: Human Rights = 2SLGBTQS+ Rights. Martin Frith, HC president, was correct- this is a message that everyone can support! The crowds certainly loved it, judging by their applause, as they did the energetic music blasted from the speakers on our shiny, red, Pride-flag-draped pickup truck, “float.”
Srishti Hukku explains, “Given our emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion as an organization, Humanist Canada intentionally chose to centre the Quasar Pride Flag as part of the parade. Leveraging intersectionality as an analytical tool, we recognize the challenges that multiple identities create for folks. The Progress Pride Flag was designed in 2018. Quasar added the black and brown stripes to represent marginalised 2SLGBTQIA+ communities of colour, along with the colours pink, light blue and white, which are used on the transgender pride flag. The additional elements form an arrow shape that points to the right, to represent “forward movement” and are along the left edge of the flag to state that “progress still needs to be made.”
Srishti Hukku and Ric Glowienka and were brilliant with their “microphone work,” rousing thousands of onlookers along the route with “Let’s make some noise, Ottawa! Let’s make some noise, for human rights!” (etc.)
Ric at the wheel and Srishti on the microphone.
Our dance music was irresistible, causing Humanist Ottawa president, Robert Hamilton, to let loose (he set a high bar; too bad if you missed it).
Ottawa mayor, Jim Watson- who came out as gay in 2019- was there of course, as was outgoing Somerset ward councillor and openly gay mayoral candidate Catherine McKenney (they, them). They had described the Capital Pride Parade as their “gay Christmas.”
There was essentially negligible counter-protest, but there was some, hardly worth mentioning, except to say that it served as a reminder that we must be vigilant, and continue to work to stop faith-based bigotry.
Our humanist entourage reconvened, post-parade, at the Waverley Elgin GastroPub for a happy hour, dinner and the usual, extremely enjoyable chin-wagging. Not everyone in our circles, understandably, are comfortable yet, attending in-person events, but for those who attended, it was a wonderful, meaningful day. Thanks to everyone who helped make this a success.
Dr Richard G L Thain