Largest Kingston Pride festival held since start of pandemic

Kingston makes Pride a family friendly event

Pride Events took place through the entire month of June.

Kingston Pride had a “normal” Pride festival this June after facing COVID-19 restrictions for the past two years.

Hundreds marched down Queen Street and wandered Confederation Park, showing their support for the LGBTQ+ community. The parade was organized by Kingston Pride, a non-profit group that builds understanding and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community and hosts events throughout Pride Month.

“We had crowds of people coming to celebrate [and] coming to watch,” Ian Burns, chair of Kingston Pride, said in an interview with The Journal.  “It was such a wonder to see for small city Kington.”

This year’s events included drag story time, movies in the square, and an UNDRwear dance party. The events culminated in the final parade at the end of Pride Week on June 18. 

“In the past we’ve done a lot of events that are dances and late-night shows that kids can’t go to or there’s alcohol served so children can’t attend,” Burns said. “We really wanted to make Pride more family friendly in order to allow people of all ages to attend the events and experience what it is like to be part of the queer community.”

The City of Kingston has been supportive of Kingston Pride since its first official year in 1992, according to Burns.

“We have seen an increase in the amount of engagement with the City this year. They have just started a new equity department that is specifically geared towards the queer community as well as other minority groups,” Burns said.

The City of Kingston has taken steps such as banning conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ citizens last year, before a federal ban was enacted.

“The city works with us, supports us, and a lot has changed in the last 30 years, but we need to continue fighting for our rights as queer individuals,” Mark Richardson, communications officer for the Kingston Pride Board, said in an interview with The Journal.

Richardson added that “diverse identities” are celebrated during Kinsgton Pride.

“[We give] gender, sexual, and romantic minorities a space to really come together,” he said. 

He added Kingston Pride is making themselves known in the Queen’s community. 

“We have a lot of influence with our social media and a lot of people engage with our posts,” Richardson said. “[Pride] is an opportunity for Queen’s students to see that Kingston is a place that embraces diversity and defies the expectations of a cis heteronormative society.”

Burns echoed Richardson’s sentiments. He struggled to find a community in Kingston when he was young and has since worked to increase queer visibility in the community.

 “There is a very large queer community here in Kingston. There is a very large trans and gender diverse community here in Kingston,” Burns said. “There is a community here for members of the queer community who don’t have one yet.”

Due to the severity of COVID-19 in 2020, Kingston Pride could not run as normal but still hosted virtual events. In 2021, Kingston Pride was moved to September, with Kingston Pride 2022 planning starting soon after, in October. 

“[This year] COVID is definitely less of an issue. Last year, we had to walk along Johnson, so the parade route was a bit different than past years. The results of that made the numbers quite low.”

“The awareness of the queer community here in Kingston is growing,” Burns said. “That really is the goal of pride, it’s to bring awareness and bring attention to the lack of equality and the struggles of the queer community.”

Pride in Kingston does not end in June. Throughout the year, there are monthly discussions on gender and sexuality called Gender Talk. To build social connections, there are weekly rock-climbing nights at the Boiler Room for queer individuals. Trellis, the HIV/AIDS community centre, does movie nights for the queer community.


City of Kingston, Kingston Pride, LGBTQ+, Pride month, Queer

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