“Ok,” he said, getting up from the couch and walking over to the door. “I guess you’ll be going now. It was nice knowing you.” My best friend was saying goodbye, and in his mind, it was for the last time.

The year was 1987, we were both 18 and we’d been up all night. He’d invited me over hours earlier and the minute I got there I knew something was up. He just sat there on the couch, chain smoking, silent and staring. The words came slowly, a sentence or two every half hour.

At about 2 a.m., I finally figured out what was going on. My best buddy was coming out of the closet and he was certain our lifelong friendship was over.

I couldn’t blame him for thinking I’d walk out that door and never look back. In Victoria 25 years ago, and in communities right across this country, telling people you were gay was a rare and risky decision. It meant being prepared to lose your friends, your family, your respect.

Fast forward 18 years.

I’m standing in a ballroom at the Sutton Place Hotel in downtown Vancouver. My three-year-old son is there to see his first wedding and I’m the best man. Actually, I’m one of two best men, because two men are about to marry each other. Gay marriage has just become legal in Canada, and my best friend, that boy who’d said goodbye to me that night so long ago, has grown up and is marrying the love of his life.

On this Pride weekend, I hope you’ll take a moment to celebrate how far we’ve come and to consider how far we still have to go. I will be in the West End, standing proudly with my family, cheering on each and every beautiful soul that marches past and thinking back on a scared teenager who had the courage to risk everything for the truth.

Ethan Faber

Assistant News Director and Managing Editor, CTV British Columbia