Crowds celebrate Pride in Waterloo region despite security concerns
Hundreds of people turned up for the inaugural Pride street party in Cambridge on Saturday, while others packed Victoria Park in Kitchener for the Tri- Pride event.
"We have so many people that are just so excited this is happening in their streets, so here we are celebrating,” said Bryan Causarano, board member of Grand River Pride.
According to those attending, the events carry renewed significance in the face of a rising tide of hate towards the LGBTQ2S+ community.
In recent days there have been instances of damaged Pride art and décor locally, including tire marks found on Waterloo's Rainbow Crosswalk at Willis Way.
A 59-year-old man was also recently charged in connection with Pride signs being removed and threatening people in Cambridge.
On Friday, anti-trans protesters faced-off against counter protesters in Ottawa, where five people were arrested.
In the lead-up to Pride Month, the National Association of Canada Pride Organizations sent an emergency funding proposal to the federal government to help cover security costs amid rising anti-Queer hate, violence and threats.
“We had to increase our security this year from our normal amounts,” said Fabian Fletcher, the president of the board of directors for Tri-Pride. “We went from two to six actually just to make sure that, you know, we have safety in our community.”
Despite their concerns, organizers said Saturday’s events in Waterloo region have been a huge success.
“We’re just here to celebrate and have a good time and remind folks that pride is a celebration but also a protest,” said Fletcher.