Miss tri-Pride 2011 at the festival - photo courtesy tri-Pride

Pride parade

Miss tri-Pride 2011 at the festival - photo courtesy tri-Pride
Miss tri-Pride 2011 at the festival – photo courtesy tri-Pride

tri-Pride celebrates 18 years of awareness and acceptance

Danielle Dmytraszko

From May 2 to June 1, the Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge communities will celebrate tri-Pride, raising awareness and acceptance for the LGBQT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans and queer) community.

The tri-Pride festival attracted more than 6,000 attendees last year, moving the celebration from Roos Island in Victoria Park to the streets right outside of Kitchener Hall.

To board member Philip Charbonneau, the growth and awareness of tri-Pride is crucial. “Being open and seen in the public is the most effective way to dispel homophobia and encourage tolerance,” said Charbonneau. He projects more than 7,000 people will attend this year, which proves the momentum and accomplishments of Tri-Pride.

Tri-Pride has worked very hard since their launch in 1995; their first year only had 86 guests in attendance. By gaining sponsors, community support, activists and willful participants, tri-Pride has become the third largest pride celebration in Ontario, neck and neck with Ottawa. Charbonneau also proudly shared that tri-Pride has been mentoring Brantford Pride. “It has been a great experience for both sides.”

Tri-Pride’s Live Music Festival takes place on June 1 at the Kitchener Civic Square on King Street. “By holding a live music festival open to the public in the heart of the city, we engage and become a part of the general community,” said Charbonneau, who has been an integral part of Tri-Pride since 1999.

The Live Music Festival attracts performers from across Ontario, and even some from the United States. “There will even be a new kid’s zone so families can bring their children and celebrate pride with us,” added Charbonneau. Being able to incorporate and engage participants of all ages is so important. “This year we have some great performers like Drake Jensen, She King, Sarah Smith, Gabe Lopez, and God Made Me Funky,” said Charbonneau.

The acts will take place on three stages, and the event will also include a silent auction, educational seminars, and of course, the TD Kid Zone.

For more information visit tripride.ca

For tri-Pride events listings, visit our events page.