16-21 August was Pride Week in Copenhagen. I’ve never been to any Pride events in Edmonton, and there weren’t any going on nearby where I lived in Germany, so I wanted to take advantage of living in a city and finally check out an event that I’d heard so many great things about.
So on the morning of the 21st, I dragged my hungover ass out of bed and biked into the city to watch my very first Pride Parade.
Copenhagen was certainly in the Pride spirit.
I parked myself down on a spot in the middle of the parade about a half hour before it was scheduled to pass, and wiled away the time watching all sorts of characters walking by.
Across from where I was standing there was a party happening in an apartment courtyard. What really struck me was how many children were there, and how it was so lovely to see that they were growing up in an environment that is accepting of everyone. It makes me happy to know that children are being taught that these groups of people that may be so different from them are still normal human beings.
I could feel the excitement in the air as the parade rounded the corner and into our view.
The entire experience was incredible – and just what I needed. I’d been feeling really lousy about having to leave Germany, struggling to find an apartment, and being stingy with my money. To be surrounded by so much positive energy was just wonderful.
While same-sex marriage only became officially legal in Denmark in 2012, the country was the first in the world to honour gay civil unions all the way back in 1989 (thanks Wikipedia for confirming this vague memory I had that Denmark was really ahead of its time). So it’s safe to say the culture here is a lot more accepting, meaning people really got to celebrate their pride.
At the end of the day, I’m incredibly lucky to have always lived in places where being different is okay and even celebrated. I didn’t feel unsafe watching a Pride parade. Meanwhile, there are still an alarmingly large number of countries where it’s illegal to be gay.
I headed to city hall in an incredibly good mood and listened to a transgender speaker talk about her experiences having to flee her home country in Africa because of her gender identity.
I think Pride season is over (at least in the northern hemisphere) but I encourage anyone and everyone to check out a parade next year if they have the chance to. There is something about the joy of seeing so many people get to express themselves that just brings a smile to your face.