‘A tremendous day’: Pride celebrations sweep through downtown Winnipeg

The Pride celebration swept through Downtown Winnipeg Sunday as thousands of people marched in the parade – a reminder for many of how far the province has come and how far it still needs to go.

“This is going to be a tremendous day – it is like a sea of rainbow out there, it is unbelievable,” Premier Heather Stefanson said speaking to the crowd of people who gathered on the steps of the Manitoba Legislature Sunday morning.

A.J. Robelo was among those celebrating at the rally and parade Sunday. Rebelo says he came out to his mom this year, making the celebration particularly special for him.

“Just having the support of other people just makes things a lot easier for you as a 2SLGBTQIA person,” Robelo said. “Despite the fact that it feels like we have a lot of freedom and there is a lot of acceptance, there is a lot of places throughout the world that there isn’t a lot of acceptance, and so I think we are lucky to have the opportunity to be able to walk in a parade.”

It is a sentiment echoed by Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman who spoke at the 2022 Pride Rally – a tradition Pride Winnipeg says honours the group of 250 people who gathered there in 1987 for the first Pride parade.

Bowman said that crowd has grown in the decades since.

“That says a lot about where this community has gone in 35 years,” Bowman said. “35 years is a long time, and so much has changed since then and we know there is more work ahead to build a community and city in which we are all truly proud to call home and we all feel we can be who we really are.”

Thousands marched in the parade filled with floats throughout downtown Winnipeg down to The Forks to continue the celebration.

“It’s great because it shows people that you are accepted. There is nothing wrong with being gay, lesbian, transgender, whatever,” said Kevin Baker.

Uzoma Asagwara, the first Black, Queer, Gender Non-Conforming person to be elected to the Manitoba Legislative Assembly, was nominated to be the Grand Marshal of the parade. They said they were shocked to be nominated.

Though it was a day of celebration, Asagwara said the pride needs to continue beyond the rally and parade.

“We need to remember that Pride is a daily action, that every single day we each have the opportunity to disrupt and take up space and action Pride,” they said. 

A full schedule of the 2022 Pride events and performers can be found online.

-with files from CTV’s Mason DePatie

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