Laura Budd Chosen as Grand Marshal for 2017 Moose Jaw Pride Parade
We are proud to announce Laura Budd as the Parade Grand Marshal for the 2017 Moose Jaw Pride Parade. Laura is a remarkable community leader and advocate who has demonstrated perseverance, dignity and courage in the face of hardship. In 2016, Budd won a landmark human rights case allowing for transgender people to have their gender markers changed on government issued identification without needing to provide a proof of surgery.
After sharing part of her story with us at our Gender Diversity Awareness Week luncheon in March, we knew that we needed to have her back to lead our community forward in a celebration of love. Laura’s story, her work for the community and her profound love for others embodies our 2017 theme: Love is Love.
Speaking from her scars, not her wounds, Laura shares her powerful story below. Please join us in congratulating Laura on becoming Moose Jaw Pride’s 2017 Parade Grand Marshal!
Upon being asked to be the Grand Marshal, I was at first very honoured and then felt a flood of emotion flow over me.
Why had I been asked? Was I worthy? Would those that have worked so hard and sacrificed so much to move Pride forward in Saskatchewan welcome me as I would lead those in the parade through the streets of Moose Jaw? I then realised that it was my old self taking over the conversation and quickly focused on why joy was my first thought when asked.
As a young child growing up in rural Saskatchewan, I had no knowledge, language or visual of the rainbow community. I was told that my feelings and how I knew myself was not only impossible, but wrong. I quickly learned to compartmentalize my physical self from my emotional self. I believed that to be a part of a loving family—to have a person to journey through life with and to create a family of my own with—that I would have to hide who I truly am forever.
I did all that was expected of me, yet hiding who I was became too heavy and I risked losing everyone I held most dear. I finally shared my most private thoughts and identity with my wife, the love of my life.
My wife, Pat, has shown me what unconditional love is. Several years into our relationship and after having two children together, I told Pat that though I was assigned male at birth, I was in fact female. Shaken, Pat did not fall. She worked through her own lack of knowledge and understanding of what this would mean for her, our family and our relationship. Pat came out the other side more committed to our family and tied by love than ever before.
My love of Pat and the love she feels for our children was always my rock to hold onto as I navigated the stormy seas of transition. The social and physical challenges of a gender transition—even in this age of enlightened support—has been long and at times overwhelming, yet also rewarding and self-affirming. Through it all, Pat has loved and supported me. She has proven to me and those that know us that Love is in fact Love.
The vessel in which I am housed has changed and been molded to represent who I know myself to be. I am now able to look in the mirror and love the person that looks back at me. Yet who I am, what I know and what I am capable of has not changed.
Once I was free to express my true self and to discover my honest likes, dislikes, passions and pleasures, I blossomed. I have been filled with more love than I may have been before. To be a woman married to the love of her life, who is also another woman fills me with love. For me, to know that I will love Pat and that Pat will always love me, is at the heart of this year’s pride celebrations and affirms the message that, LOVE IS LOVE.