Secular holidays are in short supply. Yet, we want them because, in a religiously diverse society, there must be special occasions that unite. We need meaningful days. In this country, the only ones we really valued until recently were Thanksgiving and Remembrance Day, and sometimes Canada Day. But a new secular holiday has made big waves: Gay Pride Day, or Pride. Different cities celebrate it on different days, though invariably it falls in the summer. Canada's largest, Toronto Pride, is July 4. As with Christmas, however, the decorations and merrymaking start early.
Whenever Pride does happen, its participants tend to both enjoy and get a lot from it. In the early history of the holiday, in the 1970s, gays significantly outnumbered straights among the revellers. But Pride is an evolving tradition. Today, in many cities and very markedly in Toronto, Pride is as much for heterosexuals as it is for homosexuals. They march. They bring their children. And, of course, they watch the parade. Often, these heterosexuals cheer. Occasionally, they boo if they see a strutting politician they don't like (usually a fellow straight).