The streets of Toronto came alive as people from all walks of life, including students from Humber College, gathered for the annual celebration of love, acceptance, and inclusivity that is the Toronto Pride Parade.
Humber students joined the celebration and shared their perspectives on Pride and Queer Joy, which is Humber’s theme for Pride 2023, and the significance of Humber's participation in the parade. Both Humber's LGBTQ+ Resource Centre and the Humber 2SLGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group participated in the parade.
Student Sandra Daniela Gonzales Vega said Pride is a platform for recognition and understanding.
"Pride means that people will listen and look at me, that they acknowledge that asexuality is a thing and ask about it when they see the flags waving in the streets,” said Gonzales Vega. “It means that I can be surrounded by people like me and not feel like there's anything wrong with the way I am. For a day or a month, I'm reminded that I'm not alone and that I have a whole community welcoming me."
For Gonzales Vega and her fellow students, Queer Joy holds immense significance.
"Queer Joy means that I can be queer and asexual and feel joy about it. I get to surround myself with people who are joyous and be happy about who we are and who we love. It's a revolutionary act of finding joy and happiness within the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, and I get to experience that alongside my friends."
Brendan Hamel Smith, another Humber student, emphasized the impact of Humber's celebration of Queer Joy and its role in encouraging self-expression.
"Seeing Humber celebrate Queer Joy encourages myself and students like me to celebrate our truest selves,” said Smith. “By participating in the parade, Humber shows its support for its students, even if they haven't come out yet. It's a safe space where students can find acceptance."
As the parade made its way through the streets, resounding cheers and applause filled the air.
"There was something truly beautiful about witnessing people from all walks of life coming together to celebrate love for all. It was an emotional experience," shared Aishwarya Sen, who was part of the thousands of people taking in the parade.
The Pride Parade celebrated love and acceptance and served as a platform to showcase the talent and creativity of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. There were fashion displays, dance performances, and other artistic expressions throughout the celebrations.