The crowd was smaller than normal at TRU’s annual Pride Parade on Friday. About 100 people came out to show support for the LGBTQ community. The parades in 2012 and 2013 each saw an attendance of over 300.
For students in their first or second year, this was their first taste of the TRU Pride Parade. Typically held in April, TRUSU decided last year to hold the 2014 parade in September, effectively skipping 2013-14 academic year.
TRUSU president Dylan Robinson said that the scheduling change may have contributed to the smaller-than-usual crowd, but added that he is still happy with the day’s results.
“We’re really just glad that as many people came out as they did and sent a really strong message of support for LGBTQ students, staff, faculty and the community more broadly,” Robinson said.
“It’s nice to see someone stepping up and supporting some diversity,” Kamloops resident Jeff Conners said.
Conners was one of several participants not affiliated with TRU to attend the parade.
“We have people from the community, different service agencies stepping up and supporting, trying to link the community and campus which sometimes I think is really lost,” Conners said.
Dean of students Christine Adam was one of several university staff and faculty to participate this year. “This is something that I’ve supported since it started a couple of years ago and I think it’s really important to recognize the diversity on campus and also for all students to feel welcomed here,” she said, sporting a bright purple wig.
Bright outfits, rainbow-coloured signs and banners emblazoned with slogans like “Queer is Beautiful” were common as participants marched around Old Main and the campus commons. Participants were also encouraged to join in chants like “We are proud,” and “Hey! Ho! Homophobia’s got to go!”
Students Katelyn Echlin-Scorer and Katie Hutfluss organized the first TRU Pride Parade in 2012. The next year, TRUSU created the Pride collective and gave it the responsibility of making the Pride Parade an annual event.
First-year student Madison Thomas said she was glad to see the Pride Parade on campus.
“I think the TRU Pride Parade, and pride in general, is a really big deal that I think needs to be more supported,” she said.
Robinson said there are definitely things that TRUSU and the Pride collective can look to improve for next year’s parade.
“We’ll be continuing to strategize about how to get more people engaged in the community and engaged in building a safe and inclusive campus for everyone,” Robinson said.