Tens of thousands lined a new parade route for the first in-person Victoria Pride in two years under clear blue skies and a scorching hot sun Sunday (June 26).
The new route saw the parade marshal in Victoria West before crossing over the Johnson Street bridge into Victoria’s downtown.
The parade, which took place during what many would consider the first weekend with real summer temperatures, then headed southeast on Wharf Street, before turning right onto Government Street and right again onto Belleville Street.
Parade participants numbered in the thousands then marched past the provincial legislature before turning left onto Menzies Street, where the parade concluded at the intersection with Kingston Street.
Although arguably the public highlight of the Victoria Pride Festival (running June 23 through July 2), the parade merely served as a precursor to the Victoria Pride Festival in the Park. It is on until 8 p.m. at MacDonald Park. In what likely speaks to the popularity of the event, VicPD had to temporarily close vehicle traffic in downtown Victoria to deal with crowds.
.@vicpdcanada have opened #yyjtraffic downtown. Roads are closed to vehicle traffic in James Bay as there are several thousand pedestrians making their way to MacDonald Park for the Victoria Pride Festival https://t.co/njo4f5Vu7L— CFAX1070 (@cfax1070) June 26, 2022
In fact, police had to announce via social media and other forums that the park had reached capacity before announcing that the situation had stabilized.
The capacity issues at MacDonald Park have stabilized. @VictoriaPride have everything well in hand, & most officers are no longer needed on scene. #yyjtraffic will continue to be disrupted in James Bay this afternoon. Thanks for your patience, #yyj.— Victoria Police (@vicpdcanada) June 26, 2022
Sunday’s parade, with expectations of more than 40,000 spectators, unfolded against growing recognition and solidarity with 2SLGBTQIA+ communities, but also rising threats against them.
Threatening calls and harassment led organizers of a family-friendly drag show at a Victoria cafe earlier this month to cancel the event.
Across North America, 2SLGBTQIA+ communities continue to face a long list of legislated obstacles in a number of areas of daily life, along with persistent levels of intolerance.
Several red states in the U.S., many of them heavily influenced by Christian evangelical political forces, have and continue to add to this burden through legislation like Florida’s so-called Don’t Say Gay Bill. Advocates also fear that the historic reversal of Roe v. Wade in the United States will give license for the reversal of legalized gay marriage there.
Members of 2SLGBTQIA+ communities also continue to face threats to their very existence as recently demonstrated in Oslo, where a person considered to be an Islamist by local authorities shot two dead and injured 20 more at a popular gay bar. The incident, which took place Saturday (June 25), has shocked that country.
In Turkey, meanwhile, officials arrested more than 200 people while marching in a Pride Parade banned by Istanbul officials Sunday. The Islamic-nationalistic government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reversed various civil liberties since coming to power and many of its supporters consider 2SLGBTQIA+ communities a threat to Turkish society.
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