Pride Week is one of my favourite weeks of the year. In Saskatoon the organizers and volunteers put on event after event, and they just keep getting bigger and better. So many hours, so many dedicated people, all working together with a common vision.
We make a point of getting out to at least a few Pride events every year. We always have an amazing time, and love being surrounded by such incredible people – all devoted to diversity. This years PRIDE week was no exception. We had a lovely time at the family day in the park, at the second annual Welcome to the Gaybourhood block party, and today marching in the parade and then celebrating with everyone at the community stage.
This year, a couple different politicians were invited to speak before the stage was opened up for the incredible musical line up. And honestly? There is a reason folks hate politicians. This event is not about politics, and it’s not about scoring brownie points that can be redeemed at election time. I was so disappointed with the MLA who was invited to represent our provincial government… actually, I was beyond disappointed.
The NDP MLA made a point of recognizing the very few NDP representatives who were present (including mentioning one MLA who had ALREADY LEFT despite the fact that the event had only just begun). He encouraged people to vote NDP. And then went on to blast the current Sask Party government. Personally, I found this appalling. It was not the time OR the place for this kind of political maneuvering.
There are times when politics should be left at home, or checked at the door, and this was one of those times. Yes! Come as an elected official who represents the current government and who is proud to see how large the PRIDE movement has become. But don’t treat it as a chance to earn votes. Be there in the spirit of the day. Celebrate with us! But don’t pretend to be a part of a movement you choose to ignore the other 364 days a year just to earn a vote. It insults our intelligence. We see your party’s record, we can read all about your stance, see what you’ve done to promote equality, and we know that you aren’t there the rest of the year… And judging by the rumblings in the crowd I’m not the only one who found him offensive.
The Green Party did not have a float in the parade, we weren’t attending with an agenda like the Liberal and NDP representatives. But we were there. Because we are always there. Because PRIDE is something that is deeply important to us… and that has NOTHING to do with earning votes or ensuring we are noticed as representatives of a political party.
Pride is about believing in yourself, being true to who you are, and being PROUD. It is about the discrimination we have overcome and still face by being open, by sharing the truth. It is about fighting for a world where PRIDE is NORMAL. Where gender has nothing to do with a persons sex. Where love is love regardless if it’s shared between women, between men, or between a man and a woman. It’s about truth.
How many of those politicians there today have truly been there? How many know what it means? How many have seen the dark side of humanity where
… … Sorry. This is difficult. Sometimes I get emotional. … …
I have had friends, bloodied and in the hospital, beaten for being who they are. How many of those politicians have been there? How many have experienced that side of PRIDE? Pride is about coming back from that, and knowing it’s worth it to keep fighting. Pride is about the idea that my daughter will grow up not knowing that ugliness. Pride is about how far we’ve come.
So I’m glad the politicians came… but sometimes? It would be nice to see them leave the politics at home.
Want to know what PRIDE is really about?
It’s about Gabriella and Lily-Ann… two little girls who met only two minutes previously, holding hands. Two little girls who will never know a world where diversity isn’t totally, completely, natural and normal.
Happy Pride Day!