World Refugee Day, National Aboriginal Day and Gay Pride Parade

I never realized how commemorative this particular past weekend in June was until I started reflecting on it.

On Thursday, June 20th it was World Refugee Day. I took part in a celebration to commemorate the millions of displaced persons all over the world that have been forced to flee their homes. This day is always an important one for me because of the many incredible refugees I have met throughout my career. I love that there is a day specifically designated to pay homage to the tribulations of refugees as it can become quite easy to live in our Northwestern bubble and forget that we were lucky to have been born in such a privileged place.

World Refugee Event
World Refugee Event

Friday, June 21st was National Aboriginal Day. I admire First Nations and Aboriginal culture, so this was a perfect opportunity to bask in the beauty of it. Though I think this designated date is grossly under-rated,its the one day where the media starts to (almost) equally represent First Nations issues and cover stories of relevance and importance. Canada seriously needs to step up it’s game when it comes to addressing some of these issues and fixing the reckless damage caused to FN culture. But that’s probably best left to another blog.

Yesterday, Saturday, June 22nd was Pride Day in Regina. I was invited by a friend representing the Liberal Party to partake in the parade. Who says no to participating in a parade?! Of course, I agreed. I have to say, I was more than impressed. I have never been anywhere in my life where I felt more acceptance. No one was judging, no one was staring anyone down. Everyone was so friendly, warm and inviting. It’s like you could be anyone or anything and no one would have cared. I felt an overwhelming calmness wash over me, even though the place was buzzing with excitement, hugging, laughs, and a lot of eyeshadow. I felt so comfortable and confident about where I was and what I was doing. The significance of that moment made me realize how amazing it was that this was all happening.

Mist and I at the Pride Parade with balloon umbrellas.
Mist and I at the Pride Parade with balloon umbrellas.

I have always loved the idea of being part of something that is bigger than myself. This was exactly what this situation gave me. I think about my generation and how fucked up things are. With social media, the obsession with celebrities, etc., sometimes I feel like we are going backwards when it comes to progressive movements. But then I just have to open my eyes to the bigger picture. My generation is seeing some pretty significant movements. The LGBT movement is one of them. I would like to think that every step I took in that parade was a step in the right direction towards equality.

Pride Parade down Albert Street
Pride Parade down Albert Street

It made me think about my life and how I grew up too. Liking boys, flirting with them, dating them, and other things. Then to imagine my life having all of those thoughts, feelings and experiences and having people I don’t even know tell me it’s wrong. I have never had to feel guilty about my sexuality, I couldn’t even imagine what that would be like.

Probably the best part of my whole weekend was when we were nearing the end of the route for the parade. On one of the corners a few people were holding a sign that said, “will you marry me?” as two women wept and held each other. I was so far down the parade line, I missed the good part, but it was still like a scene out of a movie and incredibly romantic. I can’t even begin to think of a time when this love couldn’t be what it is, and I’m pretty happy about that.

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