News / Winnipeg

This year’s Winnipeg Pride about equALL

Equality for all citizens in our global community is the central message of this year’s Pride Winnipeg.

The 2013 festival, which kicks off on Friday with a flag-raising ceremony at city hall and culminates June 2 with the Pride Parade, is using a play on the word equal, namely “equALL,” for its theme.

Jonathan Niemczak, president of Pride Winnipeg, said this theme builds on the 2012 celebration of Pride’s 25th anniversary in Winnipeg, and basically sets the tone for the next 25 years.

“How it’s spelt, if you notice the ALL part is bolded and it’s the focal point of that word … Everyone is equal, that’s what we’re striving for,” said Niemczak, 25, an administrative assistant at Manitoba Hydro.

“We’re not looking to take rights away from religious organizations, we’re not looking to batter anyone or any other groups, it’s really just about us trying to achieve equal rights.”

The letters in the ALL are transparent, added Niemczak, to show that the LGBTTQ has no hidden agenda, and the letters lean on each other, which is in grateful homage to the allies of the community.

“To achieve equality, we need to support each other, if you take one piece away, the whole of ALL falls apart and then you can’t achieve equality,” he said.

“The allies component is very important cause we do need those folks in order to achieve equality.”

Niemczak said the equALL theme was chosen last fall, meaning they could not have foreseen just how well it would resonate in the midst of the current debate around the Manitoba government’s proposed anti-bullying Bill 18 and coincide with a large number of U.S. states and countries such as France and Brazil approving same-sex marriage.

And while it’s important to celebrate how far the LGBTTQ community has come in Canada, Niemczak said it’s important to remember that in so many nations, there are people whose lives are at stake if they come out.

This year’s festival guide includes a Global Equality map that shows which countries have — or have not — adopted LGBTTQ rights.

“We are very comfortable here in Canada, but we know that there are international partners that we need to help,” he said.

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