Fall chills TRU Pride Parade attendance, but the show goes on

Pride Parade participants get colourful with rainbow banners and signs. (Alexis Stockford/The Omega)

Pride Parade participants get colourful with rainbow banners and signs. (Alexis Stockford/The Omega)

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.

TRUSU president Dylan Robinson leads the crowd in a chant (Kim Anderson/The Omega)

TRUSU president Dylan Robinson leads the crowd in a chant (Kim Anderson/The Omega)

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.

TRU professors Kellee Caton and David Hill come out to show support for LGBTQ students. (Alexis Stockford/The Omega)

TRU professors Kellee Caton and David Hill come out to show support for LGBTQ students. (Alexis Stockford/The Omega)

“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!”

Kim Anderson/The Omega

Kim Anderson/The Omega

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.