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Saskatoon shows its Pride with largest parade to date, and organizers say the stakes are high

(Hayatullah Amanat/CTV News) (Hayatullah Amanat/CTV News)
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Over a hundred floats, representing institutions from across Saskatchewan took part in the 2024 Pride Parade — Saskatoon's largest annual parade event.

The parade started off with overcast and light rain, but after every storm came a rainbow, as the clouds cleared away to the sun and hot temperatures.

Blake Tait, the spokesperson for the event, says this year's parade was estimated to be about one thousand people larger than the 2023 parade for an attendance of over nine thousand.

"It's one of the ten largest pride parades in the country," said Tait.

(Hayatullah Amanat/CTV News)

A member of the community himself, pride was a very important outlet for Tait to find acceptance.

"Pride as a child for me was something that was so important in making me feel safe and supported in my community," said Tait.

This comes at a time where the community members are advocating against provincial legislation they say infringes on their rights

Saskatchewan Party MLAs were barred from joining Saskatoon Pride over the controversial new law, which requires schools to disclose to parents if their child wants to go by a different name or pronouns while in school.

Critics have said the law effectively requires teachers and school administrators to "out" their gender non-conforming students, whether or not they feel safe sharing that information with their parents. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has said it will be up to school divisions to punish teachers who choose not to follow the rules.

Pride organizations in Regina, North Battleford and Prince Albert also moved to ban Sask. Party MLAs from events in their cities this month.

"It feels like everything is black and white, it's really hard to be a queer person in society. It feels a lot like we've been going backwards for years, but it's very much in the forefront now," said Tait.

(Hayatullah Amanat/CTV News)

While the Pride parades held across the globe in the month of June were made possible by decades of hard-won political struggle, for those in the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies, it's also just a good time.

"It's a real party. I enjoyed walking it this year. Everyone is accepted no matter who they are, or what they are," said Darren Woff, who was with the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation float.

Police were invited to attend Saskatoon's parade in uniform this year, breaking from last year's agreement — some were spotted with pride emblems on their uniforms.

The parade route tracked up Spadina Crescent into the downtown, before ending near River Landing, where festival grounds had been set up.

Speakers, food, beer gardens, and a marketplace were part of the post-parade festival, which continued on for hours after Saskatoon's largest-ever pride parade had ended.

-With files from Rory MacLean

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