BELLEVILLE – In the midst of World Pride Week, the students and staff of Loyalist College who spoke to QNet News expressed support of the LGBT+ community taking centre stage for the day.
Belleville Pride parade is taking place on July 5. This will only be the second year the city is holding an official Pride parade. The parade aims to raise the profile of LGBT+ people in the city. While it is the second official parade in Belleville, Pride events have been taking place in some cities since the 1980s.
Kate Brett, employee of Loyalist College, says she is not surprised it has taken so long for the Parade to come to Belleville.
“Belleville tends to be a very conservative town; and Pride parades, generally, when in a very conservative area don’t win popularity contests,” she said.
Matt Taylor, who works in the Career Centre at Loyalist College, is also not shocked.
“As bad as it sounds I’m not too surprised but I think it’s a great start for Belleville. And I think it’s only going to pick up momentum as the years continue,” he said.
Amelia Huffman, who also works in the Career Centre, did not know that this was only Belleville’s second official parade.
“I thought we had been involved … I think with such a large college population in the area and (having) a lot of students in the area; I think it’s an important thing to be more public about and getting more people involved,” she said.
Everyone has a different reason for why the Pride parade matters to them and the community.
Brett thinks the parade is about being inclusive.
“I think it’s really important for the community to understand that they’re people. What they do in their bedroom ultimately doesn’t really have a huge impact on the community at large. It’s just about being inclusive and understanding that people are people,” she said.
Huffman believes the parade is significant in a college town.
“It matters because we have a lot of students. A lot of people who are not from the area and their moving to Belleville to go to school here or work here and they maybe don’t have the support … So I think it’s a good way to make them feel welcome and make us a little bit more of an open community,” she said.
The official abbreviation for pride is LGBTTQQ2SA (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, intersex, questioning, queer, two-spirited and allies). Many people believe that this abbreviation is too long.
Brett said the acronym could be simplified.
“Maybe (it’s too long, but) I appreciate why they have it – because it’s important to include everyone. They might want to, I don’t know, rearrange the letters or something so it’s a little more catchier,” she said.
Lindsay Robinson, a Loyalist student, said she does not believe the abbreviation is too long.
“Because it stands for everything, it covers mostly everything,” she said.
The Belleville parade will be taking place on July 5 starting at 12 noon. People will gather at Empire Square (353 Front St.) and walk down to Zwick’s Park, where there will be festivities until 6 p.m.