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Editorial: Pride week is more than a parade and a party

This year’s pride theme is ‘unity through diversity’
Last year’s pride parade in Nanaimo. NEWS BULLETIN file photo

There’s a temptation to think of pride week as a rainbow-coloured spectacle, but we recognize there’s important meaning, too, behind what will be going on in the city this week.

Nanaimo Pride Week begins today, June 5, and culminates Saturday, June 9, with the Nanaimo Pride Parade and Festival downtown.

After our coverage of last year’s event, we received an e-mail from a reader pointing out, rightly, that nowhere in our article did we ever attempt to explain what pride meant and what it was that so many people were celebrating.

Because pride week isn’t just another downtown festival that brings the community together for a parade and activities at the park. Those things happen, but pride, at its core, celebrates members of the LGBTQ community, the diversity of sexual orientations and gender identities. It honours those who have fought for gay and trans rights in the face of discrimination and hate, and offers hope that we can do better. Pride is open to a lot of different interpretations and seems to become ever more inclusive.

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There are some members of the LGBTQ community who have expressed the sentiment that straight couples might not belong at pride, but we don’t think that’s a prevailing view in Nanaimo. We think there are a lot of progressive people here who in a shallow sense, don’t want to miss out on all the fun of pride week, but who are also LGBTQ allies, who will always need to be an important part of the community.

This year’s pride theme is ‘unity through diversity’ and that should be an appealing thought to any of us who want to be who we want to be, and feel how we want to feel.

Happy pride, Nanaimo. Let’s enjoy a week that will be not only colourful, but meaningful.