Pride Week in Ottawa

This week is Capital Pride in Ottawa!  Celebrations for our LGBT Community will be held August 20 to 26, 2018.  As Canadians, we have a lot to be proud of! I am thankful to be a citizen of a country that has a raised acceptance, camaraderie and legal status for our LGBT community.  One of the reasons I immigrated to Canada is because I was born and raised in a country that is not LGBT-friendly. Living as an out gay man here in Canada has allowed me to be comfortable in my own skin and not live in fear of constant institutional homophobia and discrimination.  Our Canadian laws and attitudes around LGBT issues is empowering to everyone.

The LGBT Community here in Canada and specifically Ottawa, has always been important to me and played an integral role through my career and schooling.  In fact, for about two years, I was the Community Relations Manager at Pink Triangle Services here in Ottawa. This position gave me experiences, support and friendships- and reminded me of how lucky we are to have the support and acceptance of our government and society.  During my studies at Carleton University, I played a prominent role in the campus pride community there as the Programming Coordinator of the GLBT Centre.  I also undertook my Honours Thesis through an internship at EGALE (Equality for Gays & Lesbians Everywhere), at a time when they were still advocating for Bill C-38-the Equal Marriage Act.

One major event this week will be the Pride Parade, being held on Sunday, August 26th in Ottawa’s own Gay Village (in Centre Town).  This year I’ll be marching in the Pride Parade with the Ottawa Caledonian Pipe Band as its Drum Major.

But like everybody else, LGBT Canadians want financial stability and equality along with social and legal equality. Diversity and inclusion is an integral part of me and my clients’ insurance needs! Being Your Trusted Advisor means I am able to understand the unique needs and perspectives of my LGBT clients. As your Allstate agent, I can help you insure everything you have and everyone you love”. #lovewhoyouare #insurance

Pride week is a time of fun, celebration, commemoration, reflection, and events and festivities celebrating LGBT Canadians and everyone in between. I am proud to support equality and diversity and hope that you have a safe and healthy celebration. To do that, I have prepared some simple Do’s and Don’ts for staying safe during Pride celebrations. These tips can be used for any occasion, but since it’s Pride, I thought everyone deserves a reminder! 

Some Pride Week Do’s and Don’ts

Do stay with your friends and people that you know and trust.

It’s a good idea to go out in a group with people that you know and trust.

Don’t ditch your friends to hang out with strangers. Always make sure that people you know and trust know who you’re with at all times, and where!

Do charge your cell phone. (and remember to actually bring) your cell phone.

Do know your limits. If you are going to drink, know what your limits are. You don’t want to overconsume and become liable to engage in unsafe, intoxicated decisions.

Don't drink if you're underage. Underage drinking is illegal!

Don’t drive if you’ve been drinking. Stay Safe - I recommend taking the bus/train/taxi/uber

Do Drink Responsibly!

Don’t use drugs. Drugs in Canada are illegal.

Do practice safe sex.  There are free condoms everywhere during Pride Week. No excuses!

Do listen to some great music. 

Don’t stand too close to the speakers.

Do wear sunscreen.

Do drink plenty of water.

Don’t bring a ton of cash. People get pickpocketed all the time.

Do keep your money and cards and ID’s in a safe place. Theft and identity theft are all too common these days.

Don’t feel pressured to be someone that you are not, or do something that you don’t want to do.

Do bring some hand sanitizer. You’ll be glad you did. If you want to be the most popular person in your group, do stash a roll of toilet paper in your purse/murse. Porta potties suffer from chronic “Out of Toilet Paper Disorder”.

Do bring a sweater or jacket. Summer evenings in Ottawa cool off real fast when the sun goes down.

Do wear comfy foot wear so you can take in all the sites. You will enjoy the events longer in sensible shoes. If you need some inspiration, bright sneakers or a pair of boots look awesome all year round.

If you see something suspicious, do report it to police or security personnel. And if something doesn’t feel quite right or safe, you can bail at any time. 

With these tips in mind, go out, show your colours and have a Happy Pride!