Trans Participation at Ottawa’s Capital Pride

| Sep 2, 2013
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Ottawa, Canada had its annual Gay Pride Week and parade last week. The local TG support group, Gender Mosaic, is very closely allied with the local gay community. As you can see by the report below one of the GM’s most active members, Amanda Ryan, was chosen as one of the parade marshals, the Lifetime Achievement Parade Marshal. Here is her report to the Gender Mosaic members.

Lifetime Achievement Marshal Amanda Ryan

Lifetime Achievement Marshal Amanda Ryan

What an incredible week I had during Capital Pride. It actually started a few weeks earlier when my Gender Mosaic friends nominated me for Capital Pride Parade Marshal. What a wonderful gesture that was. I would like to thank everyone involved very, very much for that nomination. It meant a great deal to me. It was enough to simply be nominated but then to be selected as Lifetime Achievement Parade Marshal was amazing. I received so many wonderful e-mails and congratulations. I may not be able to squeeze my head through the door at the community centre for the next Pot Luck.

We started with the media launch in early August. I was asked to speak there. Bradley Turcotte from Daily Xtra, Ottawa’s gay newspaper, interviewed me and the other Parade Marshals and wrote a very good article about the five of us. My part included a quote from Member of Parliament Randall Garrison which was highly complimentary. That one I will treasure for a very long time.

The week started on Monday with Flag Raising Ceremonies at six locations around Ottawa starting at Ottawa Police HQ. I got my Lifetime Achievement sash just before the formal ceremony and wore it proudly all week. The flag came down reluctantly after some active bashing by our very lady-like president Sophia using a folding chair on live TV with CTV Morning. But it came down and we all cheered. From there we jumped into our pink limousine and went all over Ottawa. OC Transpo provided a double decker bus for everyone, too. It sounded like the karaoke on the bus, led by Sophia, was a great deal of fun. We did Flag Raisings at Police HQ, OC Transpo HQ, By Law HQ, Paramedic HQ, Fire HQ (BTW — Fire Chief John DeHogge rode the bus to every flag raising) and Ottawa City Hall. I’d like to note two things. OC Transpo raised the Pride Flag for the first time this year. I have already talked to David Pepper, a local gay activists and head of police community relations, and he is expecting a call from us for TDOR. By Law also raised the Pride Flag for the first time. By Law raised the Trans Flag last November. We actually beat Pride to that one. So often we follow what the GLB Community has done. It’s a little feather in our cap that we got there before Pride.

Amanda marching

Amanda marching

On Tuesday I went to the Picnic in the Park. It was a nice, quiet family afternoon with a BBQ. We talked to as many people as we could there. It was a good afternoon.

I had been asked to speak at the Human Rights Vigil on Thursday that was sponsored by Amnesty International. The International Parade Marshal, Maurice Tomlinson and his husband, Tom, are active members of Amnesty International. They also spoke. I had the privilege of riding with them for the Flag Raisings. Though I know about the discrimination and outright danger that exists around the world, it was very sobering to hear about it from two people who have lived it. Tom has a 39 stitch scar in his head from being hit with a shovel. Because he is gay. I was intimidated speaking alongside them. How do you compare life in Canada to something as horrific as that? But I talked about how fragile our Human Rights are and how we can lose them far more easily than we got them. I talked about how we have been fighting in Parliament for Trans Rights for 10 years. I addressed Mr. Harper directly with a strong “Let the Senate Vote” message. This Vigil and the Parade were the highlights for me, in what was a week of many significant impacts.


The Trans Flag

I took a break from Capital Pride on Friday and Saturday though I went 200 miles west to Belleville Pride’s first Parade. It was very well attended. Cynthia, Lulu and I were there. They had to go out twice for more food. They were very pleased with the turnout.

Sunday, of course, was the Pride Parade. My dress was ready and I carried the Trans Flag proudly. Gender Mosaic had numerous Trans Flags flying. Ottawa Police and Paramedics also had the Trans Flag flying. Thank you to everyone who carried the Flag and represented Gender Mosaic and the Trans Community. The cheers that we are getting now are a testament to how far we have come. Not many years ago we got pleasant applause. Now we are getting outright cheers. The Trans Community is making impact.

This was an incredible week for me. My ego was certainly stroked but more importantly we are seeing the Trans Community standing on it’s own two feet and being recognized within the GLBT Community and well beyond. City and government officials know who we are. I am anxious to get back to the Senate and work on Bill C-279 for Transgender rights. I like our position and our visibility. They won’t be able to push this bill aside. We won’t let them.

Thank you everyone for this incredible experience.


PS: I mentioned the Trans Flag often through the message. Here is the Trans Flag website which tells the story and history of the flag.

A YouTube video of the parade shows Ottawa’s Pride.


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Category: Transgender Community News

Linda Jensen

About the Author ()

Canadian writer Linda Jensen is a long time contributor to TGForum. Before the days of the Internet Linda started her writing with the Transvestian newspaper. Her writing ranges from factual accounts of her adventures to fiction although frankly sometimes her real life adventures are stranger than the fiction. Linda is married to a loving partner who upon learning about Linda said, "she was part of you before I met you. Although I didn't know it she was part of the package I fell in love with. I don't want to mess up that package." "Does it get any better than that?" asks Linda.

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