Windsor Pride gets ‘Front and Centre’

By | 2018-01-16T06:50:50-05:00 August 2nd, 2007|News|

WINDSOR – Windsor Pride wrapped up a week’s worth of celebration Sunday with a rousing parade and festival that drew thousands into the streets of downtown Windsor. The parade wound its way from the St. Clair Centre for the Arts down to Casino Windsor, and then ended at the Riverfront Festival Plaza where the party continued with speakers, entertainment, food and exhibitors’ booths.
“I come each year to support the community,” said Greg George of Windsor, who was enjoying a nice shady spot from which to watch the parade with his friend, Jeff Fleming. George said he’d been to pride celebrations in New York, San Francisco and Toronto. “Windsor’s pride is getting there. It has really picked up in the last few years.”
The theme of Windsor Pride 2007 was “Front and Centre,” with the goal of being out, open and visible. About 3,000 people attended the post-parade festival to listen to speakers and music performances, and to wander through the 60 or so vendors and exhibitors’ booths that were set up under the festival tents. There were plenty of refreshment vendors, and most of Windsor’s – and some of Michigan’s – LGBT organizations were represented.
“We’re not turning the clock back on gay and lesbian rights in Canada,” said Bill Siksay of British Columbia, an openly-gay member of the Parliament of Canada, to several hundred cheering people crowded in front of an elaborate sound stage setup. Siksay was the parade’s grand marshal and the festival’s keynote speaker. “We are the leaders. We’ve learned something here in Canada about expanding the rights of citizens. And we need to share that – across the river (in the United States) and across the ocean.”
Some of the exhibitors talked about the differences between Windsor and Michigan on LGBT freedoms and pointed out that LGBT people in Canada have far more rights – especially the right to marry – than LGBT people in the United States.
“Our group is out and open, and, of course, our members are legally protected in their jobs as elementary school teachers,” said Christine Drouillard of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario’s LGBT group. “We work to create safe learning and teaching environments for both our students and our teachers.”
Drouillard is a fifth-grade teacher at Amherstburg Elementary School.
“We are really happy with the strong turnout,” said a tired but happy Jason Patterson, chair of the Festival Committee and member of the Windsor Pride Committee. “And the weather could not have been nicer.”

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