‘Very proud and very happy’: Looking back at Pride Month in Manitoba

It was a record-breaking year for Pride Month in Manitoba, with thousands of people taking part in more than 15 Pride events across the province.

The biggest event was the Pride parade in Winnipeg, which saw over 6,000 people march through the city’s downtown.

“We had a record number of people at the parade. We had a record number of people at the festival site,” said Pride Winnipeg president Barry Karlenzig. “We did hit the same numbers as last year, which makes us very proud and very happy.”

But it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows – severe weather forced the festivities to shut down three hours early, and a blockade of protesters put the biggest-ever Pride parade on hold.

A news release from the protesting group handed out during the blockade said they were demanding that Pride Winnipeg end its “complicity with genocide, divest from corporate pinkwashing, remove police from Pride, and centre QTBIPOC leadership.”

READ MORE: Blockade briefly stops Pride Parade in downtown Winnipeg

“We do recognize as an organization, we are not perfect,” Karlenzig said.

Since the blockade, Karlenzig confirmed Pride Winnipeg met with the protesters and had “meaningful dialogue.”

The organization has also announced plans to begin consultations with community members and Pride participants to see how it can improve.

“We were eventually going to launch them in September,” Karlenzig said. “Now, just with the way our grant programs have worked, we were able to get grant funding a little bit earlier, so we’re going to be launching them…over the summer.”

While Pride month may be over, Karlenzig emphasized that 2SLGBTQ+ events still happen year-round, province-wide.

“We do have the Pride Winnipeg app that is not just for Pride weekend,” he said. “If anybody’s sitting there on a Friday night saying, ‘Hey, what’s there to go to in the city on a Friday night,’ they can load the Pride Winnipeg app, and it shows everything.”

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