Over a year ago, a dedicated few gathered together to celebrate, yes celebrate, being gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered in the Waterloo region. Last year the news reports that made it into the news stated that only 30 plus people celebrated being homosexual at Kitchener City Hall.
This year, that was not the case. A more dedicated group of volunteers gathered together months in advance to get a really great Pride Day together.
On June 27, 1996, over 250 people gathered together to cheer about the fact that we all are gay and live in this area. People came from Guelph, Cambridge and KW to meet each other, have some nibbles and listen to a wonderful key note speaker. The evening began with the Rainbow Chorus singing three selections. Members of this choir come from the area and are gaining quite a reputation as a fabulous singing group. Their songs represented the wide varieties that exist in this global community, which was demonstrated by their piece from Africa and their celebratory pieces. This year Dr.Gary Gibson, the Chief of Staff at Cambridge Memorial Hospital, spoke about what it is like to be gay in the Waterloo region. His partner, Doug Sanders, also spoke on the value of accepting the differences within our greater community.
The evening also had many interesting booths which demonstrated the variety that exists here in the area. The Lesbian Avengers had their booth, stating their mission to decrease Lesbian invisibility. ACCKWA also had a booth, along with GLLOW, the Health Unit and WOODS ( Women Out Of Doors). These booths allowed the greater community to see all that we have to offer and point out that people do not have to go to Toronto to be gay.
The evening ended with an open mike session where members of the region had an opportunity to express their feelings about the event.
The speakers represented women, gay fathers, army veterans and youth who were eager to sing the praises of the Regional Pride Event. The overall theme was how important it is to stress that there are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered members within the larger community.
The Guelph, Cambridge and Kitchener-Waterloo region have made some amazing leaps and bounds in the past year regarding our Pride Celebration. Our next step is having a regional pride site on the World Wide Web and a central clearing house of information regarding gay information in the area.
The gay community was strengthened through this event and it will increase even more next year.If you are interested in getting involved in the planning of next year's event and other community building in the region contact the Regional Pride Committee through the internet at Pride96@cybervision.com. We welcome all interested in strengthening our community.
Sarah Nicol is the coordinator of GLLOW.
Send comments to: kovu at lionking point org