Pride, Respect, Community were the rainbow words pronounced on the side of a float during the Halifax Pride Parade Saturday afternoon.
Pridesters on the float also sang Put a Little Love in Your Heart to the hundreds of people lining the curbs in the downtown core.
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Participants and spectators – queer and straight – wore rainbow flags during the parade to show their support for a culture as well as a sexual spectrum.
For Sandra Bornemann, who held hands with her transsexual husband Julien Davis, Pride represents much more than sexuality.
“It’s about visibility as well, because in the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community, the T is often invisible,” Bornemann said. “We’re showing that it’s not so invisible.”
Those partaking in the parade made plenty of noise as they walked, danced or even hoola-hooped their way through the streets of Halifax.
The first Halifax Pride Parade in 1988 was more of a protest, said Kevin Kindred, spokesman for the Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project.
“There were about 25 people that took part, some of whom took part with bags over their heads so no one would recognize who they are,” he said.
And while Saturday’s parade participants wore smiles, Kindred said there are still important battles ahead.
“There’s a lot of homophobia that people experience at vulnerable times in their lives – when they’re getting health care, when they’re older,” he said. “The new face of the movement will try to eliminate homophobia in a way that has nothing to do with the law, but has to do with the realities in peoples lives.”
Four Halifax churches also participated in the parade, as same sex couples marched with the United Church group.
“Some components of the church have had a long history of oppression, but the United Church of Canada is an inclusive church,” said Martha Martin, a minister at St. Andrews United Church on Coburg Road. “We’re here to express our solidarity and to say that they’re welcome in our church.”
Darrell Dexter also took part in the parade, becoming Nova Scotia’s first premier to do so. He wore a necklace of rainbow flowers and waved to people from the backseat of a car.