celebration · equality

June Pride Run, Then and Now

#TBT: June 29, 2015

In June 2015, Sam wrote about how much fun she had Walking and Running with Pride.

She was a busy person this week 8 years ago, and despite some admitted hardships (including the harbinger of a sore knee) she decided to focus on “the good stuff”: children graduating from a program for LGBTIQ2S youth; a Pride run with her daughter in Toronto, Canada; and FIFI bloggers running together with her.

According to Sam, the 2015 Pride and Remembrance Run event included some great fundraising, colourful confetti, a glitter canon, Muppets music, bright costumes, closed roads, and the presence of the province’s Premier. The descriptions and pictures make a #TBT re-visit to Sam’s post worthwhile!

This year, on Saturday, June 24, FIFI bloggers were mostly out doing other fun things during the day of the Pride and Remembrance Run. I was in the backyard of Marnie and Sheila, two awesome people who were celebrating their recent marriage with 35 other friends and loved ones. (They had a food truck!) So while I was nowhere near the Pride Run, I was still out in the world celebrating queer love, inclusion, and community spirit. However, I did sneak a peek at the Run’s photo gallery, and it seemed like an amazing day for participants, even with the periodic rain.

But 2015 and 2023 has its differences. This year, increased concerns about safety due to homophobia and transphobia were reported by the CBC to have led to potential programming cuts for the Run. Commercial “ally ship” (in the form of sponsorship) was also threatened to wane, according to Opinion writer Rob Csernyik in the Globe and Mail, following backlash/boycott responses to transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney earlier that year.

As well, Ontario has had a different provincial leader since Sam’s post in 2015. Doug Ford, since his first Premiership in 2018 (and re-election in 2020), has been critiqued often for failing to support 2SLGBTQIA+ education, health and wellness, and visibility.

So, the Toronto Pride and Remembrance Run remains a popular a day-long event that incorporates physical activity to celebrate people for who they are. But, by comparing then and now, I am reminded that such events have an important, grounding message: equal rights and equitable treatment for all people must be supported actively, and all year round as well. Because things can change (and not always for the better).

Intersex inclusive pride flag
Intersex inclusive pride flag is Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication
celebration · fitness

Advance birthday activity party planning: throwing and hitting things

Last night I went to dinner with five friends, all of whom I’ve cycled with or skied with or kayaked with. In addition to catching up on each other’s families, jobs, pets and travel, talk naturally turned to the following subjects:

  • gear– who has bought or upgraded lately, and what do we all think about it (some new ski boots were discussed)
  • activity trips– either sandwiched in during work trips (yes, one of us is conferencing/skiing in Aspen soon) or planned as actual bona fide vacay (two are headed to Costa Rica for whitewater kayaking in February)
  • whose kids and dogs are doing what, activity-wise, e.g. little kids using chairlifts with some help, and dogs doing mountain biking and hiking in the same day (with different human groups)
  • who is taking on new activities/sports– one snowboarder wants to try downhill skiing, and another person is thinking about taking up women’s chilled-out hockey team (yes, there is such a thing)

For the most part, I’m minding the shop at home for at least the next month or so. I’m back on the job after sabbatical, and feeling like returning to the yoga studio and trying out a new gym. I’ll cross country ski locally if and when there’s snow.

But, in the course of conversation, I had an idea: my friend Steph and I have birthdays in adjacent months (March and April). We both like having group parties on our birthdays. I thought: why don’t we organize some active and maybe cheesy fun in honor of our birthdays? We both like hitting and throwing things, Also, trying something new appealed to all of us. I’ve deputized myself to research the options.

Axe throwing first came to mind. As it does. I’ve yet to try it, but our dedicated FIFI staff have blogged about it here and here. I wonder if we could get a cake like this one?

Cake with a red-and-white target on top and possibly a real axe beside it. Will they allow us to use the axes to slice the cake?
Cake with a red-and-white target on top and possibly a real axe beside it. Will they allow us to use the axes to slice the cake?

I’ve never been to a batting cage, but I was a pretty good softball player when I was aged 11–13. Maybe it’s time to check out the old swing again. In my head, I picture myself doing at least as well as Susan Sarandon did in the romantic baseball movie Bull Durham.

Susan Sarandon at the batting cage back in the late 80s. I hear she later switched to ping pong and is in that business now.

Once we got started talking, more ideas cropped up. For golf, there’s the driving range, golf simulators (I don’t know what this is, but a bunch of them popped up in my google search), and of course mini golf. As for bowling, in New England facilities include both candlepin bowling and uh, the regular kind.

One game, three options: candlepin, duckpin, tenpin. How to choose?
One game, three options: candlepin, duckpin, tenpin bowling. How to choose?

For now, that’s all I’ve come up with. On the other hand, these activities will suffice to guarantee much enjoyment and hilarity for all of us. There’s nothing like taking on some physical activity in a low-stakes, high-amusement-level environment with people you enjoy being with and laughing with. This is what we are shooting for.

So, readers, any other ideas? What am I missing? Let me know if you have thoughts or if you’ve done any group outings like this. How did it go? I’d like to hear all the details.