Pride Parade celebrants toast freedom, denounce repression abroad
Published Sunday, August 18, 2013 5:30PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, August 18, 2013 6:35PM EDT
MONTREAL - Thousands turned up to celebrate Sunday, as the annual Pride Parade rolled through downtown Montreal, flaunting all of its usual pomp, colour and ceremony.
But this year the event took place amid deeper concerns revolving around anti-gay laws in Russia.
Locally, however, it appears that the gay community has nothing but friends in the potlical class, as countless local candidates and representatives participated enthusiastically and added to the festive mood.
They included Pauline Marois, Denis Coderre, Philippe Couillard, Françoise David, Justin Trudeau, Thomas Mulcair, Daniel Paillé and Mayor Laurent Blanchard, among others.
The only prominent political party not represented appears to have been the federal Conservatives.
Laws in Russia have banned many aspects of homosexuality, a fact that has led to considerable outrage in Canada, particularly prior to the Sochi Winter Games.
But one gay activist on hand noted that Russia is far from the only country with laws against homosexuality.
“Eighty countries still outlaw homosexuality,” said gay activist Gilbert Baker. “In eight counties you can be put to death, so as a human rights issue we still have a lot to do.”
One Russian immigrant told CTV Montreal that the parade proves an open-mindedness and tolerance which his homeland lacks.
“It's incredible. So thank you Canada for accepting me for who I am,” said Ruslan Shumov.
The parade featured a wide variety of participants, from gay families, to the fancy-dressed marchers with more flamboyant stripes, but all shared in a feeling of community and acceptance on the occasion.
“The people are starting to understand that the parade in Montreal is an important one,” said Montreal Pride VP Jean-Sebastien Boudreault.
Click here to see more photos from the event.