These old legs have carried me along as an observer on many a march, walk, protest, rally, parade, call them what you will. Anti-Vietnam war, pro-pot, anti-racism, give peace a chance, cure cancer — even, on one occasion, a rampaging window-smashing mob.
Some are good, some bad, some silent, some rowdy.
Thursday’s pride parade was different than any of them, though the basic elements were the same — people walking and talking for a cause.
Create a crowd with an axe to grind and, often as not, something ugly lies just under the surface. Not this one.
The university is a friendly environment for such things. As TRU president Alan Shaver told them, universities are about “diversity” and incubating “new knowledge and understanding.”
He didn’t mention the LGBTQIA word, but his message was clear and supportive. And there were plenty of others there to declare that “we are here and we are beautiful,” and to demand that “our voice must be invited to the table.”
There were no goofy, intentionally provocative costumes or behaviour — no studded leather or nudity — that characterize many big-city pride parades intended to antagonize the phobes.
This was a T-shirt, blue jeans and ball cap crowd. They held rainbow banners and carried signs with slogans like “Hearts not parts,” “Love is never wrong,” and “Come out of the closet, make room for more shoes.”
It’s impossible to know how many were straight and how many something else, but it was a fine thing to see and know that this wasn’t just some protest group with vested interests — it was a community of people, albeit mostly the TRU community, expressing its unity and acceptance with joy and gusto.
Supt. Yves Lacasse and a half dozen cops and some firefighters were there, too, not to keep watch but rather to offer a friendly presence.
Kamloops South NDPer Tom Friedman walked along; he wasn’t sure if he was there as a TRU prof or as a candidate but he did know he was there to support the event. I saw his Kamloops North running mate Kathy Kendall, too, and there was Coun. Donovan Cavers leaping onto a dumpster to get a better picture as the 300 participants walked past.
He and Nelly Dever carried the colours, as it were, for the rest of City council, most of whom opted to attend a regional district board meeting instead. I suppose the wheels of government must roll uninterrupted, but it would have been nice to have someone there in a mayoral capacity from at least one of the towns in the region, which is why alternates are appointed for RD duties.
It would have been nice, as well, if the organizers had provided 15 seconds of microphone time for a council rep to bring best wishes from City Hall, since council proclaimed April 5 as Kamloops Pride Day.
Cavers made that offer to the organizers but wasn’t taken up on it.
No matter. A parade hasn’t been that much fun since Santa Claus last rode down Victoria Street on the back of a tractor-trailer.
I wonder if it would have been different had they marched on main street instead of University Avenue. I wonder if the bigots would have come out of the shadows and spoiled it. I hope not — maybe they couldn’t have found parking.