I’ve always been an LGBTQ+ ally, but this past weekend, I attended my first Pride party. What I saw in the preparation and execution of the party made me feel proud of the Sault’s Pride.
I was honoured to be asked to be involved in helping one friend choose his outfit as it would be the first time he’d do drag. He and I and another friend visited the Station Mall, my mask firmly in place, to find a dress, shoes, and accessories for him. I was hesitant to walk into ladies’ dress shops, not sure of how the staff would react to me not being the one shopping for their dresses. They initially focused on me, and I kept deferring to the future dress wearer.
It was at Le Chateau where we felt the most comfortable. We broke the ice over trying to find sparkly size eleven high heels and from there the dress and accessories quickly fell into place. I was thrilled that the best dress was in the store with the most welcoming staff.
I must say that I really enjoyed the acknowledgement of what we women have to go through to get dolled up, how much it costs, and how painful it can be to be “beautiful.” Another bonus was that I purchased his jewelry so that after the party I would inherit it.
When it was almost party time, I got a call asking if I could go to Michael’s and pick up the pierced-to-clip-on earring conversion kit. I was already glammed up (read over-the-top nightclub attire, which you wouldn’t normally see in a craft store). I mildly regret my need to let people know that I was on my way to a Pride party because I shouldn’t have cared what they thought, but I was in a hurry and did want help finding the earring clips. One customer got in on my fun, and helped me find a whole pride section in Michael’s. My heart was full to see Michael’s with so many pride and rainbow products, and as a consequence, I probably bought more than I needed to, to support their support.
The party itself was lovely, with rainbow flags and a stunning Pride-inspired floral arrangement made locally. The most beautiful sight though was my two friends in drag for the first time. I felt a lot of love and joy at the acceptance of our community and country.
When one of my friend’s mother showed up at the party, she was raving about how her son’s partner looked in drag. I was all so normal. I realized how great this city can be when people park their judgement and pre-conceived notions at the door.
Adding joy and fun to the day, we heard the ice-cream truck coming up the street, and many of us ran out (some in drag) to be rewarded with banana splits. The owner of the ice-cream truck barely raised an eyebrow serving our motley crew. As I fanned out my money to pay, the $50, $20, $10, and $5 bills were rainbow-like and I was reminded of a meme that said Canada is so accepting that we even have openly gay money.
I’m proud of the Sault’s Pride. I will always be an ally of expressing oneself in non-conformist ways and of love in every form. The world needs more tolerance, better yet, acceptance, and more love. Period.