Fredericton Pride 2023: a Powerful Showing of Support for the LGBTQ Community

Fredericton Pride 2023 pushes back on politics and bigotry to reveal resilient community strength.

Pride Pride Events Brian Webb

This article was published on July 29th, 2023

Fredericton Pride is the biggest weekend on the gay calendar for the queer community in New Brunswick, Canada. Hosted from July 14 – 23, Fredericton Pride 2023 was a fun and vibrant celebration in the capital city of New Brunswick, a cherished maritime province in Atlantic Canada. 

The nine-day lineup of events included fabulous drag shows, social gatherings, outdoor adventures, community events, and the main event, the Fredericton Pride parade.

People came from across the province and surrounding regions to attend Fredericton Pride events and to show their support for the queer community in Fredericton, especially given the current political discourse over Policy 713, where Premier Blaine Higgs and his conservative government have sparked outrage with the LGBGQ+ communities and their allies. 

Fredericton Pride was an important event, showcasing the importance of being visible and standing up for equality and human rights. The nine days of events were filled with laughter, emotions, celebrations, and lasting memories. 

Fredericton Pride 2023

Fredericton Pride is a nine-day long Pride festival in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. People flocked to the provincial capital city to show their support for the LGBTQ community. 

For 2023, Fredericton Pride focused on delivering a lineup of inclusive events and programs to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and culture. Throughout the nine days of events there were drag shows, drag brunches, dance parties, social gatherings, nature walks, education events, clothing swaps, community events, and the annual Fredericton Pride parade. 

Here are the highlights of just some of the many events from Fredericton Pride 2023.

Fredericton Pride Parade

On the afternoon of Sunday, July 23, the streets of Fredericton, New Brunswick were a sea of glitter, rainbows, confetti, and excitement as the Fredericton Pride parade made its way through the downtown core. 

Stepping off just after 3:00pm from Fredericton City Hall, thousands of people lined the streets to take in the colorful Fredericton Pride Parade. The parade lasted about an hour and featured floats, colorful costumes, and unwavering support for queer rights and freedoms in New Brunswick. 

The Fredericton Pride parade was led by the Wolastoq First Nations and Chief Allan Polchies, an out-and-proud two spirited chief of St. Mary’s First Nation in Fredericton Sitansisk Wolastoqiyik (St. Mary’s First Nation). 

Local businesses, community groups, associations, political parties, first responders, corporate partners, not-for-profit groups, and allies proudly marched in the Fredericton Pride parade to show their support of the LGBTQ+ community. Notably absent in the parade was the Fredericton mayor and provincial premier, Blaine Higgs. 

They Fredericton Pride parade had an entourage of local drag performers, members of the trans community, LGBTQ+ advocates, and prominent members of the queer community.  

Pride flags waived high and proud throughout the streets as people shouted, “Happy Pride!” The entire city was buzzing with joy, energy, and love.

Fredericton Pride 2023 Events 

Throughout the nine days of Fredericton Pride 2023, there were a host of events designed to bring the community together, raise awareness of LGBTQ rights, develop opportunities to meet other like-minded people, and to foster community relationships.

The community-focused Fredericton Pride 2023 events included a flag raising ceremony at Fredericton City Hall, a queer community market, a block party, drag brunch, comedy night, a 5 à 7 social meet up, a traditional Atlantic Canada kitchen party, Zumba, and more. 

Garrison Night Market 

The Garrison Night Market is a weekly summer tradition in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and on Thursday, July 21, the market on Carleton Street welcomed the LGBTQ community with open arms for a night of inclusivity and celebration. 

The weekly Garrison Night Market in Fredericton includes food vendors, sports and community organizations, crafters, and local businesses. There is a main stage that features talent from the greater Fredericton region. 

Sexuality NB and AIDSNB had a booth to promote awareness, unity, and sexual health education. Fredericton Pride sponsor, HomoCulture, provided ONE Condoms, that were distributed to be used as part of a safer sex toolkit. 

Fredericton Pride Nature Walk

On the morning of Saturday, July 22 over two dozen people came together to make new friends and to explore and learn about nature at Oromocto Gateway Wetlands. The Fredericton Pride nature walk explored the diversity of the wetland ecosystem. 

The hour-long Fredericton Pride nature walk was a peaceful outdoor encounter for the queer community to connect with each other, and with nature. 

Guide Kristen Johnsen shared insights about the flora and fauna living in the wetlands as the group strolled the accessible pathways and picturesque boardwalks of the mesmerizing sanctuary. 

Fredericton Pride Big Queer Canoe

On Saturday, July 22, the afternoon skies cleared, and the sun was shining bright for the Fredericton Pride Big Queer Canoe. Two large canoes were filled with members of the queer community, providing the opportunity to be surrounded by breathtaking natural landscapes and the camaraderie of fellow adventurers.

The two-hour canoe trip down the Wolastoq (Saint John River), was hosted by local drag performers, Barb Wire and Heather Silk. Each led their own canoe teams down river singing campy sing-along songs and lip sync performances. 

As the paddlers forged their way downstream, the canoe teams took part in races and synchronized paddling activities. It was a fun afternoon on the water, embracing the freedom and joy of being with other outdoor enthusiasts.  

Community Programming  

Fredericton Pride has a large impact on local businesses. The participation of local businesses is an important part of Fredericton Pride. As the LGBTQ community united to celebrate and embrace diversity, many local establishments got involved with their own Pride activations. 

Many local businesses proudly displayed rainbow flags and Pride-themed window displays, sending a powerful message to residents and visitors that love, diversity, and acceptance are values deeply ingrained in the fabric of the Fredericton community. 

In addition to window decorations, many local businesses organized their own Pride-themed events, recognizing the importance of celebrating Fredericton Pride. These events provided platforms for dialogue, education, and celebration, allowing people from all walks of life to come together and learn from one another. They created spaces where individuals could share their experiences, foster connections, and deepen their understanding of the LGBTQ+ community. 

The community-wide engagement fosters an inclusive and supportive environment. Fredericton Pride reflects the understanding that acceptance and celebration of diversity extends beyond individual identities. 

Why Fredericton Pride is Important

New Brunswick has traditionally been a conservative jurisdiction. It’s also a heavily Catholic and Christian region, with churches prominently lining city streets and rural highways. Despite Canada being the gold standard in human rights and equality, combined conservative views and religious beliefs have an impact on creating safe and inclusive spaces for the queer community in New Brunswick. 

While it’s not common, it’s also not uncommon for queer people who live in or visit New Brunswick, to experience unwelcomed attitudes and actions towards the LGBTQ community. Across New Brunswick, attitudes and views over the years have generally shifted to being more inclusive and welcoming.

However, whether it’s walking down the street, eating in a restaurant, or visiting a local business, queer people are aware they must always be alert, aware, and prepared, especially in jurisdictions like New Brunswick where conservative and religious views still remain.

While most people in Fredericton, and New Brunswick are warm and friendly people, who welcome the LGBTQ+ community with open arms, there is a chance of receiving poor customer service or experiencing hate-speech.

This can happen in any community, at any time, and isn’t an issue local to Fredericton, or New Brunswick. It’s a key reason why the annual Fredericton Pride events are important to the queer community in New Brunswick, and why queer people need to support queer owned and operated businesses, and businesses that have LGBTQ certifications and accreditation. 

Additionally, this year, New Brunswick Premier, Blaine Higgs, and his conservative government worked diligently to pass Policy 713, the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) policy.

The policy makes negative amendments to the SOGI policy, setting new minimum requirements for public schools and districts, removing explicit mention of allowing students to participate in extracurricular activities, including sports programs, that reflect their gender identity.

The controversial policy changes also forbid teachers from using the preferred names and pronouns of students under the age of 16 without the consent from their parents. 

“Trans kids in New Brunswick are being told they don’t have the right to be their true self, that they need to ask permission,” said Canada’s Prime Minster, Justin Trudeau at a Pride event in June. “Trans kids need to feel safe, not targeted by politicians.”

Two New Brunswick ministers quit in protest of the revised SOGI policy, and two others were removed for not supporting the policy changes. Premier Higgs continues to face swift backlash from the LGBTQ+ community, allies, and equality rights activists, and threatens to be pushed out of office as members of his own party call for a leadership review. 

Despite all these challenges, Fredericton Pride stands as a triumphant celebration, highlighting the resilience and unity of the LGBTQ+ community. By coming together, advocating for equality, and promoting acceptance, Fredericton Pride serves as a powerful reminder of the ongoing fight for LGBTQ+ rights and the need for continued support and celebration in the face of adversity.

Plan to Attend Fredericton Pride 2024 

The politics and policies do not directly impact visitors to New Brunswick. By choosing to visit the picturesque Atlantic Canadian province, you can show just how strong and vibrant the LGBTQ community can be, and your tourism dollars go to work when you support queer owned and operated businesses, so they can continue to serve the local LGBTQ+ community, year-round. 

While more work needs to be done to make New Brunswick a more LGBTQ friendly destination, through legislation, certification, education, and community building, Fredericton Pride exemplifies the spirit of Pride, serving as a testament to the progress made in promoting equality and acceptance.

The event unites people from all walks of life, forging bonds of understanding and celebrating the rich tapestry of the LGBTQ+ community. Fredericton stands as a growing opportunity to promote inclusivity by embracing, honoring, and uplifting the voices and experiences of its LGBTQ+ residents, allies, and visitors. 

Be bold, be brave, and show your Pride. Start making your plans now to attend Fredericton Pride 2024 in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.  

Book your tickets and plan for New Brunswick today!

Summer adventure awaits in New Brunswick, located on the east coast of Atlantic Canada. The culture and heritage of this scenic and welcoming maritime province offers visitors a plethora of opportunities to explore. 

From the Bay of Fundy coastline with 56-foot tides, equivalent to a five-story building, to picturesque seaside towns and Canada’s oldest incorporated city, Saint John, there is so much to see, do, and explore in this sunning Atlantic Canada province.

Flowing through the downtown core of Fredericton is the Wolastoq (Saint John River), creating a natural ribbon of parkway, and opportunities for water sports including rowing, canoeing, paddle boarding. Fredericton is a vibrant urban oasis, with beaches, golf courses, gardens, museums, galleries, heritage sites, and microbreweries.

Start planning your trip to Fredericton, and across the province of New Brunswick with the help of Fredericton Tourism and Tourism New Brunswick

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