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Hundreds march in Kelowna for Pride

Kevin Young, from Vancouver, donned a shiny silver costume for the Pride march in Stuart Park, June 11, 2022.

Hundreds gathered for Pride celebrations in Kelowna’s downtown Saturday including one man who travelled across the province to showcase his pride.

Kevin Young, from Vancouver, donned a shiny silver costume for the Pride march in Stuart Park, one he has been reusing throughout the years at Pride events in Vancouver, Seattle and Victoria. June is celebrated a Pride month in Canada, with this week being declared as Pride Week in Kelowna, from June 6 to 12.

“I got into this kind of stuff maybe 10 years ago, I used to be a fashion designer when I came to Canada,” Young said.

Originally from Trinidad, Young said he couldn’t celebrate his sexuality, which is why he left the country, coming from a conservative, Catholic, family. “I had to leave because I got beat up, but it’s getting better (there),” he said.

He loves attending the festivals for the “applause” he receives.

The Kelowna Pride march, with grand marshal Wilbur Turner June 11, 2022.
The Kelowna Pride march, with grand marshal Wilbur Turner June 11, 2022.

Al Ramsay, the national manager of the LGBTQ2+ Business Development at TD Bank, flew into Kelowna and attended Kelowna Pride for the first time today, June 11.

When he was hired at TD Bank in 2005, Ramsay coined the first major bank to sponsor a Pride festival in Canada, in Toronto. Since then, TD Bank has been sponsoring Pride events in both Canada and the U.S.A.

TD has been sponsoring Kelowna Pride for more than a decade, he said. And there’s more work to to be done globally when it comes to acceptance, he said.

“There’s still 70 countries around this world it’s still illegal to be gay, this gathering today, in some countries including my birth country in Jamaica, you may be persecuted, you may be killed. While we run down this park today, I will be skipping and saying unabashedly that I am proud to be queer,” he said.

He urged residents in the march to advocate for the same rights they are celebrating today in Kelowna around the world.

“Queer rights are human rights,” he said.

The march was cancelled last year due to the pandemic.

Hundreds gathered for Kelowna Pride Saturday in Stuart Park, June 11, 2022.
Hundreds gathered for Kelowna Pride Saturday in Stuart Park, June 11, 2022.

Participants in the Kelowna Pride march, Saturday, June 11, 2022 in downtown Kelowna.
Participants in the Kelowna Pride march, Saturday, June 11, 2022 in downtown Kelowna.

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