As downtown Fredericton’s streets filled for the annual Pride Parade, many were reflecting on why Pride events are important.
Sitansisk First Nation Chief Allan Polchies said the parade is still a great show of love and community support.
“We need to understand that everyone matters. Whether you’re young or old, whether you come out when you’re young or you come out when you’re old, you’re still the person you were born to be,” he said.
New Brunswick has spent the last two months locked in debate over controversial changes to Policy 713, which sets minimum standards to ensure an inclusive school environment for LGBTQ2 students.
The main change is teachers are no longer obligated to respect the preferred name and pronouns of students under 16, which that has been criticized by LGBTQ2 groups and the province’s child and youth advocate.
Fredericton Pride board member Georgia Brown says the past few months show how necessary Pride events continue to be.
“Why do we need this? Because it’s 2023 and we still in every community have people who believe that our intrinsic right to be a human, to be who we want, how we feel is a debate,” she said.
The packed streets of downtown Fredericton offered a strong show of support. Betty Rogers and Brenda Dorkas say they’ve been attending the parade for the last few years and say it’s an important event for allies to attend
“Well, they’re part of this community as well as we are, there isn’t any difference, so yes, we should be here to support them I feel,” Dorkas said.
Emma Craib said she was happy to see the range of people who turned out.
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“It’s nice to see the community being brought together. It’s nice to see such an age range and a range of ability and just so many different communities represented within one to support each other,” she said.
The parade marks the end of the city’s Pride festival for the year, a celebration fit for this year’s theme: queer joy.
“With everything going on in the world, we just want to be happy so let’s have a parade today and celebrate joy,” Brown said.
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