Halifax Pride Festival theme impacted by Orlando Shooting

The 29th Annual Halifax Pride Festival launch carried a deeper meaning than in previous years, after the tragic events of the Orlando shooting.

“There’s been a lot of progress since the first march was held in Halifax but there’s still a long way to go with members of our community still facing discrimination, prejudice and hatred,” said Phil Otto, CEO of Revolve Branding & Marketing.

ChangSha Night Net

“This was the basic truth and insight that sparked this year’s theme.”

This year’s festival theme —; “This is why” —; had already been chosen when 49 lives were lost in the attack on the LGBTQ nightclub in Florida.

READ MORE: #lovewins: Halifax rallies around LGBTQ community after Orlando shooting

The vice-chair of the Halifax Pride Society, Karina Furlan says the theme fits perfectly with the response they were hearing from the community after the tragedy.

“I know recently, with the events in Orlando, without having announced the theme, people have been saying, ‘This is why Pride’s important!’  And we’re like ‘you’re answering the question that we haven’t even asked you yet,’” Furlan said.

“The theme was chosen to encompass everyone’s varying views. So it could be, ‘Why? Because glitter is awesome!’ Or it could be ‘Why? Because some people are still getting killed.’”

Wednesday’s launch also included members from the Highland Park Junior High’s Gender/Sexuality Alliance (GSA).

The North End Junior High was the first school in the Halifax Regional School Board to have gender neutral, or “everyone” washrooms.

The youth were also the first student group to receive a Nova Scotia Human Rights Award for their advocacy and support for LGBTQ rights.

READ MORE: Mother of 11 killed while saving son in Orlando shooting, honoured at funeral

Thirteen-year-old Hailie Barton, a member of the GSA, says she joined because sexuality and gender issues can be difficult to deal with alone.

“It’s confusing when you’re this age, when you’re not quite sure about your sexuality and all these people around you feel the exact same way so it’s awesome to have a support group,” Barton said.

She says having peer support in the Gender/Sexuality Alliance helps youth overcome discrimination.

“When other people are discriminating against you, you should thank them because they’re helping you become a stronger person,” Barton said.

The Highland Park Junior High Gender/Sexuality Alliance have been chosen as the Grand Marshal for the 2016 Halifax Pride Parade.

The 11-day festival runs between July 14-24.

Comments are closed.