Frank Brown and family members show off their homemade float during the parade.
Haíɫzaqv First Nation finds ways to show their pride while physically distancing.
The Haíɫzaqv First Nation, a remote community located on the central coast, recently celebrated Pride Month 2020 with a physically distanced Pride Parade. About 200 people participated, with 60 parade entries ranging from decorated vehicles and bikes to people of all ages dressed in rainbow-coloured outfits, some with rainbow-painted faces. Parents, grandparents and children alike cheered on their LGBTQIA+ family members and held up homemade decorated signs.
The event was held to show support for the LGBTQIA+ community within the Haíɫzaqv First Nation. It was the Nation's first Pride Parade.
Patrene, Korin and Ralph Humchitt celebrate at Haíɫzaqv First Nation’s first-ever Pride Parade.
The Haíɫzaqv people were ready
Community member Ayla Brown was the Haíɫzaqv Pride Parade organizer. She says she began by selling t-shirts to promote LGBTQIA+ pride. After she quickly sold about 100 t-shirts, it became clear to her that the community of Haíɫzaqv Nation was ready to celebrate and show their support to the LGBTQIA+ people in her community!
“My community has always been good to me, loving me for who I am," she said, noting however that some attitudes are still evolving, especially for trans youth, which is why these events are important.
Ayla decided to host the parade just two days before the event. With the support of the community and the help of social media, she got the word out on short notice. Using her own funds, Ayla sponsored prizes for Best-Decorated Vehicle, Bike and Best Outfit. But Ayla notes that although she organized the event, it was the community that fully embraced the idea and really made it a success.
Homemade floats travel through Haíɫzaqv for a physically distanced parade.
What celebrating Pride Month means
“After the parade, I had many LGBTQIA+ community members come up to me and share how happy and loved they felt," said Ayla. “One participant shared that he cried getting ready, wondering if he was really going to do this -- that during the parade he felt so happy to be fully himself for the first time in our community."
Showing support for our LGBTQIA+ community shows that everyone is accepted and loved. In many parts of the world, attitudes are changing. Every act of acceptance helps – and events such as this parade hosted in a remote community can inspire other First Nations communities. For ideas on what you can do to show your support during Pride Month (or all year long), visit Fierté Canada Pride.