Members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community and allies gathered at the K.R. Barkman Park for the annual Steinbach Pride March. 

Many joined with friends and family, others met new friends to share their stories and learn more about one another. 

Steinbach Pride board member, Charli Champagne and President, Chris Plett discuss what the Pride March looks like this year. 

“A lovely vendor village that’s getting all set up and ready to go,” Champagne explains. “We’re going to start with some speeches with some folks that have come out, some public officials, and then from there we are going to head to the street and do our March full of fun, flags, colour, and love.” 

Smiles quickly filled the park as everyone gathered to express themselves and share the true Pride experience. 

Plett goes on to say that he grew up in Steinbach but ended up moving away because he felt he could not be his true self. 

“I moved away for a long period of time and told myself that I’d never come back, and it was very difficult to live as a homosexual man in this area,” Plett says. “I came back and said to myself, ‘You know what? Nope, this has got to change.’ I had heard that the Pride organization was going to start and that is where I grew my pride.” 

Plett continues, “I didn’t have much pride and after that, I realized what a change we make for the young people and for everybody.” 

He has been with Steinbach Pride since the beginning, nine years ago. 

Champagne says she went through a similar experience to Plett and shares what Pride means to her. 

“It’s the ability to be exactly who I am and not be ashamed, afraid, or worried to be who I am,” she says. “It’s about staying and being visible for the young people that live here that are thinking, I can’t stay in Steinbach because it’s not the place for me. We want to show those folks this is the place for you. There is a place for everyone here and we are just another one of those people that exist in Steinbach.” 

Champagne says that leading up to the event, she is always stressed and worried but once the day comes, it all goes away. 

“Once I see the tents go up, I see the people showing up, and I see the colours, the bubbles, and the smiles, it all just melts away, and I get so overjoyed at the love that we can experience in Steinbach as a queer community.” 

The number of participants varies year to year, but Plett says they will be expecting around 500 people. 

For more information on Steinbach Pride, check out their Facebook page. 

@steinbach_online #SteinbachPrideMarch this afternoon! See this story on #steinbachonline for more details! #lgbtq#pride#steinbach#love ♬ original sound - SteinbachOnline