My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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my diverse city

Just took a bike ride around the neighbourhood on this sublime evening – mild, a bit of breeze, sun fading – the local parks filled mostly with immigrant people and their children, teams of East Indians playing soccer in Riverdale Park, people picnicking on the benches, children running in the grass – and very audible, in the distance, the raucous noise of the Pride celebration on Church Street. A bit surreal – a few blocks west, quite a different scene, overwhelming noise and much gaiety, literally and figuratively.

On my way to do some errands this afternoon, I ran into the Dyke Parade, which is held on Saturday; tomorrow is the big Pride Parade. I stopped to watch. Last week, at this exact time, gangs in black were smashing windows. Today, on the same street, the police were nearby and visible but unobtrusive – doing it right, this time. First came the Dykes on Bikes – assorted lesbians, some surprisingly old, their giant motorcycles vrooming enthusiastically, and one brave, dainty woman on a baby blue Vespa. There’s a new flag this year, with the red maple leaf in the middle but instead of the red bands on either side, there are rainbow bands. A gay Canadian flag.
And now came the marchers – including the Gay Elementary School Teachers. In what other city in the world, besides Vancouver and San Francisco, can gay elementary school teachers march together in a parade, openly out? I was proud of my country. Next were the controversial marchers. A group called Queers Against Israeli Apartheid first were excluded, because the march is meant to be apolitical. Then when an outcry was raised, they were let back in. So there were two groups – Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, including several women with banners that said “Jews Against Israel” – and another, smaller group, Gay Jews. “We’re gay, we’re Jewish!” they chanted. But it all looked peaceful – at least, as peaceful as a crowd of partying lesbians marching down Yonge Street with drummers, music and motorcycles, in front of a crowd of thousands, can be.
On the way home later, I rode my bike along Alexander Street, where there were stalls selling things, including memberships to organizations and teams like the gay choir and the gay vegetarians. What I liked best was the gay hockey team. Only in Canada, you say? They should have a separate Stanley Cup for that league. I’d love to see Stanley.
And of course the diversity of people in strange costumes, leather, spikes, dog collars, g-strings, and ordinary people – many parents this year, two men with their twins, I noticed, and at the Y, where I went to my yoga class, two women with their newborn baby.
I wish them joy, as they celebrate their otherness and their sameness today and tomorrow. I’ll be here, in the garden, drinking a glass of rosé to love. To love – in whatever shape and size it comes.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.

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