2 min

A toast: to changing our world

This is why we celebrate

This issue of Capital Xtra, and the accompanying Ultimate Pride Guide, celebrates the battles we’ve won and the victories we’ll win in the future.

Judging by our past successes and continued work, Ottawa’s gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and trans folk refuse to see ourselves as victims (Judge for yourself by turning to page 22 of the Ultimate Pride Guide). We’re working to remake the world in our image. We’ve made lots of progress on equality rights for gays, lesbians and bisexuals — though trans rights are not yet achieved. And we’ve got a long, long way to go on the other two major prongs of our movement: sexual freedom and social justice.

But we’ll get there. If you’re not so sure, consider our progress on equality rights since 1990. In just 15 years, we turned our legal world inside out, leaving some of our most vocal opponents gasping for breath.

So, another Pride season is here and it’s time to celebrate our achievements. To party, make new friends, join new groups and get laid. To imprint ourselves on the geography of this capital city. And to do it all in vivid sound and colour, of course, as befits our fabulous selves.

Pride is a great time to let loose. It’s a party for us and by us. It’s a time to push the envelope — marching nude, for example if that’s your thing. Or putting on a great show of leather and kink fashion on your float. It’s a time for go-go boys on bar floats, and drag queens showing what they can do.

One of the most important things about the parade itself is that it demonstrates how much fun we have in our lives. The good energy is contagious; even the religious freaks along the side, with their toxic signs denouncing our love and lust, have a hard time not smiling. That energy is vital for closeted teen gay boys and middle-aged lesbians finally dealing with their same-sex attractions. They can see that they, too, can join with the rest of us in signing up for sports groups, youth groups, arts and culture organizations — you name it — at the info fair.

At Capital Xtra, we’ve used our Pride issue for the past couple of years to bring you important history. Last year, for the platinum anniversary of Ottawa-Gatineau Pride, we gave you a full rundown of 20 years of the celebration. This year, we take a different look at the different locations that have hosted the parade and the post-parade celebrations over the years. It’s amazing how many places we’ve celebrated. Check out what people have to say about their favourite prides of the past.

We continue the celebration of our history and our culture throughout the autumn at Capital Xtra, both in our pages and at our events. On Oct 12, for example, we put on our annual Heroes Awards And Gala. Last year, we honoured more than two dozen people for their work at building community. We gave special tribute to the founders of Gays Of Ottawa and those who then built and transformed the organization over two decades. Those in attendance said it was the best feel-good event of the 2006 queer calendar.

This year, we’re honouring those who have worked to create a loving, caring community — our activists in AIDS, wellness, anti-violence and harm reduction. I promise you’ll be glad you came. Of course, we also honour the people who did great work in 2007, so please nominate your hero by filling out the form in the paper or online.

We make history every day in our community as we create a world in our image, as we create community around queer sexuality and carve out our own legal, cultural and geographic space in which we can be who we are. Proudly. Happily.

See you at Pride.