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The SFUO shows their pride with unity float. Photo: Jaclyn McRae-Sadik

U of O student groups come together for annual Pride parade

From the Pride Pageant to Queer Con, Capital Pride week has always been a diverse and accepting celebration of Ottawa’s LGBTQ+ community.

The week ended on Sunday, Aug. 21 with the annual Pride parade beginning at Bank and Somerset and making its way downtown.

Despite the festive atmosphere, the event began on a more solemn note, starting with a moment of silence in recognition of the Orlando nightclub shooting this past June.

All in all, the parade was a reminder of the long way we have come as a community in accepting and uniting people of all backgrounds.

The street was lined with an array of businesses, banks, political parties, and charitable organizations—like the Foundation for Wellness Professionals of Ottawa—all standing in solidarity and support for the promotion of LGBTQ+ rights.

The day began at a slower pace due to a sporadic rainfall, but more people slowly trickled in as the rain died down. By the end of the afternoon, the parade was in full bloom with a large crowd following the floats and the skies clearing up.

Familiar faces from the Canadian Federation of Students and the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) made their presence known with a literal truck full of supporters.

Francesco Caruso, SFUO vice-president of services and communications, explained that the federation’s choice of float was meant to symbolize unity of different student groups for a shared cause.

“This year, instead of having separate student floats for every students union, we united all the students unions in the city to march under one banner,” said Caruso, mentioning that they invited members of the Graduate Students’ Associations from the U of O as well as from Carleton.

“All of that together is just supposed to show that we’re not supposed to be siloed. We’re supposed to work together as a student movement and that’s what we want to show here.”

A group of students from the U of O Faculty of Medicine were in attendance to promote a similar kind of sentiment.

Leah Rosetti, a third-year medical student at the U of O and executive member of the medical diversity awareness group, discussed why it was important for the group to be a part of the parade.

Rosetti explained that the medical diversity awareness group is a place where “everyone in medical school and health care professionals (can) come and learn about the issues of gender and sexuality as it relates to medicine.”

“I just think it’s very important to have representation in the community of healthcare providers who are queer to show people that their doctors can look a lot like them,” she shared.

The parade was overall an exciting event where Ottawans from all walks of life could share in a joint cause. Despite the less-than-ideal weather, no one can say it truly rained on this parade.