If you were to ask a random guy on the street what one of the best Gay Pride Celebrations in Canada was, chances are he wouldn't think of Halifax - but he would be dead wrong.
Gay Pride Halifax is one of the most event-packed and exciting Gay Pride celebrations in the country. There isn't a bigger community of LGBTQ people in Eastern Canada, and there isn't a bigger event to celebrate them! Starting in the middle of July and running to almost the end of the month, recently Gay Pride Halifax usually has no problem drawing up to 120,000 people into their quiet and comfortable town to experience some crazy pride fun! Not just a great designation to celebrate the struggles and successes of the LGBTQ Community, it's also a great place to maybe meet and find love with a hunky stud! Running an average of 10 days, but growing every year, if you were to take part in this maritime cities pride celebrations, you would without a doubt understand why there are no signs it's slowing down!
How does a town with only 400,000 people become one of the Biggest Gay Pride Parties In Canada? By starting strong and never slowing down!
Halifax is actually home to one of the very first Gay Pride celebrations in all of Canada. On August 19th in 1973, ten people (that's right, ten!) from the Gay Alliance For Equality gathered near Peggy's Cove for a BBQ picnic of marshmallows and hotdogs. By spending time with each other and developing relationships within the LGBTQ community, this group of people found support and eventually evolved into Gay Pride Halifax.
Over the last couple of years, what started as 10 people having a picnic has grown into a 150,000 person celebration of equality! And with numbers like those, all you single guys are guaranteed to meet a guy that catches your eye. Gay Pride Halifax has had such celebrity supporters and guests as Mr. Lahey and Randy from The Trailer Park Boys, drag performer RuPaul, musician Carole Pope, filmmaker and playwright Daniel MacIvor, and even Vice President Al Gore!
There is no shortage of fun to be had at Gay Pride Halifax - one of the many reasons why it's one of the most celebrated Pride assemblies in Canada. From the Pride Pool Tournament, a men's hairy chest and buns contest called Bear Your Pride, a dog show (yes, An Actual Dog Show)or even a Strip Spelling Bee - there are absolutely no shortage of fun things to do at Gay Pride Halifax!
Not only does Gay Pride Halifax offer you plenty of chances for men to party, it also provides opportunities to stay healthy and get informed about the continuing struggles that LGBTQ people face in the world.
The Canada Games Baseball Diamond will be used throughout the duration of Gay Pride Halifax for both the ECRSA 'Kick Off To Pride' Softball Tournament and the annual Dykes Vs. Divas Softball Game (which is always a spectacle to behold!). As well, the Centennial Pool is used to host the Trans Connects All-Bodies Swim.
If you're into a more spiritual path to getting a healthy body, you can make your way to the Garrison Grounds for ProudPrana, a free class where amateurs and experts can be guided through a group yoga experience. And after you're finished stretching, why not make your way to Taste Of Shambhala, where you can stretch your mind with an introductory lesson on the practice of mediation.
There are also a wide variety of education experiences to be had at Gay Pride Halifax - both fun and serious. In the past, guests have been invited to take part in some of the more risqué dialogues, such as the Up Yours! Anal Pleasure & Health talk; but also offered are a variety of lectures covering topics such as Healthcare Availability for LGBTQ Patients, The Representation of Two-Spirited Identities in Atlantic Canada, and How The Gay Lifestyle Is Experienced in Law School. As well, an Interfaith Pride Service is also held where LGBTQ people of all faiths can worship and learn from each other in a safe and inclusive environment - free of judgement and prejudice. No matter where your interests lay, there's a good chance you'll learn something at Gay Pride Halifax.
No matter what you're interested in, with all of the events offered at Gay Pride Halifax, something is bound grab your attention!
If you're a movie buff, you'll be pleased to know that many films - all sharing some link to the LGBTQ experience - will be screened throughout the festivities. In the past, film screenings have included Canadian film Last Chance, the sexy neo-noir Bound, an interactive screening of Tina Fey's hilarious high school comedy Mean Girls, and a screening of the Academy Awards winning documentary The Times Of Harvey Milk - hosted in person by Stuart Milk, brother of Harvey Milk and representative of the Harvey Milk Foundation.
What would Gay Pride Halifax be without Dancing? Any you'll be glad to know that there is no shortage of chances for you to move your body while your here! In the past, Gay Pride Halifax has hosted such incredibly sexy parties as the Nearly Naked Underwear Party, the HomoTown Queer Dance Party, the No Pants Party (no pants rule not enforced), and the Queer Pressure Dance Party. Whether you dance slow, or fast, or hard, or soft - you're going to have a good time here!
Looking to just relax, share a few drinks, and have more than a few laughs with friends? Sounds like what you need is a few Drag Kings and Queens in your life - thankfully, Gay Pride Halifax has more than a few! Enjoy yourself at The Glamazon Army Atlantica Drag Show, the Halifax Drag Kings feature show, Some Like It Hot!, or test your luck at Cosmic Drag Queen Bingo!
We're just getting started! If we were to tell you all of the events happening at Gay Pride Halifax, the celebration would be over by the time you're done reading them all! With events throughout the week centring around Literature, Food, Comedy, Theatre, Life Music, and More, you'll be lucky if you find any time to rest while you party with all of your LGBTQ friends in Halifax! Which is exactly the kind of party ManPlay.com knows you love!
Gay Pride Halifax understands how hard it can be for a young person identifying as gay, lesbian, transgendered, bisexual, or any other iteration in the LGBTQ spectrum - which is why they make it a point to include all-ages events as part of their mandate.
The Youth events start on the very first day with the Pride Kick-Off BBQ, which is a drug and alcohol free event where youth can meet up and get to know each other. As the festival continues, youth can participate in such events as the Connect The Dots Meet Up (a place for youth to learn and connect with their peers), the Talent Show and Coffee House (a place to share poetry, music, and more), the Pride Youth Dance (exactly what it sounds like, open to LGBTQ youth and their allies under the age of 19), and finally the Pride Swag Party (where Youth can create swag to wear throughout Gay Pride Halifax).
Recently, Gay Pride Halifax has paid tribute to some of the struggles the local LGBTQ community has faced by paying tribute to the former Co-Chair of Gay Pride Halifax, Raymond Taavel; as well as inviting local figures such as Scott Jones to be Grand Marshal of their parade during their 2014 celebration
Some people may say that Raymond Taavel is a man who helped change the face of the LGBTQ community in Atlantic Canada, and they would be right in doing so. Raymond came to Halifax from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and instantly took to the community. Being a gay man himself, he decided to dedicate his life to educating and supporting the community he called his own. In 2001, Raymond took a position within Gay Pride Halifax, and by the time 2003 rolled around, he found himself in one of the organizations most distinguished seats - that of co-chair of the entire Gay Pride Committee. During his time with Gay Pride Halifax, Raymond helped to start new pride events, including a window decorating contest with the Downtown Merchants Society. But he didn't stop there - Raymond also served as the Chair of a local drag queen organization called ISCANS, served as Editor and Managing Editor of Wayves Magazine, as well as representing Eastern Canada on Canada's national organization of Pride Festivals. Tragedy struck the community however, when Raymond lost his life after being attacked outside of a local gay bar in April of 2012; however, Raymond's strength and his message live on through the festival as the work he began continues to grow and bring the world into a community of tolerance and acceptance. His legacy continues to be recognized throughout the world with the establishment of the Raymond Taavel Media Award in 2013.
Scott Jones was an active and energetic 28 year old man living in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia who also happened to be a member of the gay community. After leaving a local bar on what anyone would describe as a normal night where nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary, Scott was attacked by a man armed with a knife. During the attack, Scott's spinal chord was severed, leaving him permanently paralyzed. For someone like Scott - who was avidly physical - this was devastating; no longer would he be able to participate in any of the sports or hobbies that he had grown to love - all because the fact he was a gay man happened to offend the wrong person. But Scott Jones didn't let that get him down. He's let his current circumstances become his new strength - speaking to communities around the globe. He started a campaign of tolerance called Don't Be Afraid, and through this campaign he partakes in many speaking engagements where he promotes acceptance and fights homophobia. Gay Pride Halifax organizers were honoured to include Scott as Grand Marshall of their 2014 Gay Pride Parade.
A parade is a staple for any proper pride celebration, and Gay Pride Halifax is no different. Now, you may figure a place like Halifax wouldn't get a huge turnout for their Parade - after all, it's not like they're a city the size of Montreal or anything - but I guarantee, the turnout at a Gay Pride Halifax Parade will amaze you!
Like Pride celebrations across the globe, Gay Pride Halifax has meagre beginnings. Although the very first recognized Pride Parade occurred in 1987, technically the first happened in 1978.
In 1978, through the organization of the Gay Alliance For Equality, a group of 200 gay and lesbian identifying people paraded through Halifax as party of the Canadian Lesbian And Gay Rights Coalition conference. Since it doesn't actually have any roots with what is commonly referred to as Gay Pride, some don't actually consider it to be a true pride parade - although without a doubt it's impact cannot be understated.
As we mentioned earlier, the very first officially recognized paraded for Gay Pride Halifax was happened in 1987 - which is still actually one of the earliest Gay Pride parades to happen in Canada. This very first Pride Parade didn't even occur for celebratory reasons - it was actually a protest. You see, at the time there weren't a lot of legal protections afforded to Gay and Lesbian communities throughout the country, and the LGBTQ community in Halifax wasn't going to stand by and take it any longer. Homophobia and institutionalized discrimination (by way of the lack of legal protections afforded to gay and lesbian persons) had been holding back any talks of equality. So, in 1987 75 gay and lesbian Halifax natives took to the streets - some actually wearing paper bags over their heads out from fear of violent retaliation - to stand up for their rights. But those 75 people led the way for others to find strength, and the turn out grew every year.
By 1994 the parade had a turnout of over 300 self-identifying gay and lesbian participants and their allies. When 1999 came around - only five years later - that number had more than doubled to 650 participants, with over 300 bystanders showing their support. In 2002, the amount of parade marchers grew even more - the number now hitting 2000 people. The next year that number doubled again - that's right, 4000 parade participants and almost 10,000 spectators supporting them!
By 2015, the attendees of Gay Pride Halifax's celebratory parade included more than 80,000 marchers and spectators. Considering the humble place in which it began, it's nothing short of incredible what the LGBTQ community has managed to achieve in the maritime city of Halifax. Nobody is wearing paper bags over their heads anymore; which is great - because now you can see all of the cute guys who want to have some fun with you!
Now that we've told you about how the parade is an important fixture to Gay Pride Halifax, why don't you join in? You won't have any problem finding the event, because a strict no-parking rule will be enforced by the city during the day of the parade (but don't worry, the streets generally re-open by 4pm at the latest). The Parade route itself starts on Upper Water Street, then turns down Barrington Street, turning again on Spring Garden Road, and onto South Park Street where it finishes on the Garrison Grounds at Citadel Hill.
If you have any questions about the parade, be sure to check with:Halifax Pride
If you want to learn more about Gay Pride in Canadian cities like Montreal, CLICK HERE