KAMLOOPS — Almost 40 years after the inaugural Vancouver Pride Parade, downtown Kamloops hosted its very first march for the LGBTQ2+ community today. Hundreds of people took to the streets while hundreds more cheered them on from downtown sidewalks.
The event began in Riverside Park Bandshell, making its way along Victoria Street before circling back along Lansdowne and back to the park. Kamloops Pride president Kirstin McLaughlin says she was thrilled by the number of people who came out to support the event.
“I’m absolutely elated,” McLaughlin says. “As we came out of Riverside Park and we’re walking down the street and saw people lining the streets, it was so powerful and so emotional for all of us who’ve been working on this for the last year.”
For members of the LGBTQ2+ community who have been living in Kamloops for a number of years, an event of this magnitude has been a long time coming.
“The timing just seemed to be right,” Cory Haughton told CFJC Today. “I’ve been to a few Pride parades in different communities; there’s something so powerful about me and my other LGBTQ folks becoming able to be out and proud and visible. A lot of us just kind of blend in our day-to-day lives, so being able to be out, being able to be supported by all these great people, having people along the route cheering us on and joining us is like a big party.”
After the success of this inaugural Pride parade, McLaughlin says Kamloops Pride has already started work on next year’s Pride celebrations.
“We’ve got to make this the inaugural,” McLaughlin says. “We’ve gotta come back even bigger and better next year.”
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