Hey Rams! Happy Pride! (Insert rainbow emoji here.)
For those of you that don’t know, this week (June 19th - June 28th) is Toronto’s annual Pride festival! Pride Week is a time to celebrate sexual diversity, gender diversity, queer culture, community, family, love, spirit and courage. The Village (Church and Wellesley) and downtown Toronto are hosts of the event, and the 10-day festival includes a wide array of activities and entertainment; as well as the Dyke March, the Trans March and the Pride Parade for members of the LGBTQIA+ community to come together.
As both a queer student and a regular attendee of Pride, this week is incredibly important to me, as I know it is for many other members of the community. It is a time to rejoice and a time to feel proud of my sexual orientation and gender identity/expression without persecution. It is a time for family, friends and allies to show their support, and it is a time to embrace.
My friend Rosalind and I at Toronto’s World Pride in 2014.
Whether it’s your very first Pride or you’re a Pride week veteran, here are five rules to help you have the most rewarding experience this year!
1. Be RESPECTFUL.
Pride is a time for people of all walks of life to come and display their identities. Understand that this is Pride week, meaning that individuals that may be part of what is considered to be the “fringe” or don’t follow the “norms” of society will be present. Be prepared to see a diverse community of people at Pride (some clothed, some not), and whether you agree or disagree, please be civil. Don’t judge or be prejudice, and if you have a negative comment keep it to yourself. Most importantly, if you don’t believe there should be a pride parade and don’t recognize the significance of the event, simply don’t attend.
2. Be AWARE.
The Village and the general downtown area of Toronto are home to plenty of bars, clubs, strip clubs, and venues where alcohol will be present and accessible throughout Pride week. While we all try to stay on our best behaviour, many will partake and inevitably some people will become far too intoxicated for their own good. That being said, if substance abuse is something you or someone you know struggles with, do not fear, there are plenty of substance-free events and entertainment available for you to attend! Not to mention RyePRIDE will be hosting plenty of substance-free events at Ryerson as well!
3. Be GRATEFUL.
While Pride is a time to celebrate the advances of the LGBTQIA+ community, it is also time to commemorate the challenges we have faced and overcome to get where we are today. Educate yourself on the LGBT rights movement, appreciate the lives that have fought for our freedom and honour their courage. As well, it is important to acknowledge that we have still a long way to go until acceptance, tolerance and safety for our community is achieved and show your support for the cause.
4. Be PROUD.
The single most important rule is to be proud (I mean, it’s in the name)! This is a time to celebrate our individuality and diversity, it is a time to embrace our differences and show our love and support for one another. We are all beautiful in our own unique ways and encompassing that is exactly what Pride is all about!
5. Have FUN!
Feel free to roam and explore. Ryerson is an incredible supporter and advocate for Pride (have you seen the rainbow flags everywhere?) and there are a ton of fun events (hosted by RyePRIDE) for you to check out on campus! Go see what’s happening in The Village, watch the parades/marches and enjoy the entertainment! Have a great time immersing yourself in queer culture and encourage your friends and family to join with you!
I hope that these tips help you have the best Pride possible and I hope to see you all there! Remember to stay gold (and blue)!
If you want to know more about events at Pride Week here are some helpful links:
Pride at Ryerson (RyePRIDE) https://www.facebook.com/events/417367438470698/
Clean, Sober and Proud Place (June 27th – 28th) https://www.facebook.com/events/412371648954509/