WorldPride 2014 in Toronto was absolutely amazing. Thank you to all the volunteers, customers, parade marchers, workers, visitors, and entertainers. This year Revel & Riot was in charge of designing and selling the Official WorldPride merchandise, so our team was running 2 giant booths in the Street Fair, day and night. We met so many wonderful and beautiful people of all ages and backgrounds – many had traveled far and wide to come to WorldPride. To see parents and kids together celebrating, allies supporting their friends, to witness inspiring expressions of identity and love… well, it was very humbling and a true honor to be able to offer everybody a little piece of LGBTQ pride in the form of a t-shirt. Check out our WorldPride 2014 Toronto gallery for more pictures.
Then there was the parade. The Revel & Riot group marched with more than 12,000 other participants in the massive event on Sunday June 29. Our Revel & Riot volunteers were tireless, enthusiastic, full of humor and pride. The parade was over 4 hours late, so we all waited together, talking, making up chants, using our placards as shields from the unrelenting sun. At one point, a man carrying “God Hates Homos” pamphlets climbed to the top of a nearby staircase and started shouting anti-gay slurs. A Revel & Riot volunteer grabbed her “Allies” placard, ran up the stairs and started dancing in front of him. It took about ten seconds for the whole rest of the group to swarm the man on the stairs – they waved signs, cheered, danced and frankly, looked like the most clever and photogenic group in the whole parade. The homophobic man was forced off the stairs, likely to go bother some other LGBTQ people further up the road, but regardless, it was a small and incredibly beautiful, victorious moment. Thank you to all of the parade volunteers for coming to represent Revel & Riot, for sharing your stories, for chanting “WE ARE THE GAY KIDS!” for 3 hours, for the work you do in your own communities, and for your truly inspiring energy that day.
Finally, we had a perfect ending to WorldPride 2014 Toronto – the Tegan and Sara show at Yonge and Dundas Square. The winners of our “Meet Tegan and Sara” contest were already in the photo pit watching the first few songs, the rain had stopped, the R&R team arrived just in time for them to go on stage. It was a perfect performance, with a moving statement on pride, and an improvised dance number. A huge thank you to Tegan and Sara for supporting Revel & Riot all these years, but most of all for being out, for being creative, for being such tireless advocates for LGBTQ equality.
Thank you again to everyone for an unforgettable WorldPride. And to all of you out there celebrating Pride in different parts of the world, or for those of you don’t have a Pride festival where you live, or for those who cannot safely attend Pride – we are in solidarity with you all, in pride and in protest, in revel and in riot.