KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – This weekend’s video documents the 1989 Halifax Pride march, the second one to be held in the city. 85 people participated.
Tireless labour and social justice activist Tony Tracy was one of the people who joined the 1989 parade. Tracy writes about the march in a recent facebook post.
This was long before the days of corporate sponsorship of Pride events, and these marches were more of a protest than a celebration & were distinctly political..
Two people marched that year with paper bags over their heads, and one wears a red bandanna over his face with dark sunglasses and a baseball cap. The taller of the people covered with paper bags carried a placard that read “Lose the bag, lose the job.”
The man with the red bandanna had recently been forced out of the military reserves because he was gay, and was now in a civilian job and worried about loosing that too. He holds a sign that reads “Asked to resign after 17 years of loyal service because of my sexual orientation. What does work have to do with my love life?”
This is not a riveting documentary by any means. It’s basically a bunch of people walking through downtown Halifax, sloganeering and singing. They seem happy and loving. What they were doing was crucially important. It’s why things change.
The video was recorded by Anne Bishop and Jan Morrell.
This is not to suggest that the Pride marches were the first time gay Haligonians took to the streets. As Mary Ann Mancini points out in her comment to this story,
“We had marches in the 70s too but they seem to have been forgotten because we didn’t call them Pride parades or marches..we just called them gay rights marches..”
For more context, read Rebecca Rose’s superb Coast article Before the parade on the early days of queer activism in Halifax.