Sunday, 7 July 2013

Pride, Part 1

Today I volunteered in my very first pride event! Over the last month, I've been getting involved with one of the bigger LGBT centres in Vancouver, which offers a long line of services and groups to queer-identified people, young/old, of different ethnicity, different sexual identities and more. They needed a few people to man their booth for the Pride festival this afternoon, so I happily obliged.

Now, this event, Surrey Pride, was interesting. Surrey is a large suburb about a forty-five minute drive outside of downtown Vancouver. It's a suburb, first and foremost, which means there's a lot of families and it's probably a little less liberal-minded than say, right downtown. Surrey is also home to a wide range of different ethnicities, many of which get a rap for having some pretty traditional cultures values when it comes to the LGBT community. So I was really happy to see lots of families with kids getting rainbow flags painted on their faces, and people of all different cultures, ages and walks of life coming up to the vendors and community groups to ask questions and see what everyone had to offer. It's comforting to know that so many people are curious and willing to reach out to the community, and that there's a generation coming up that will be exposed and understanding of queer people.

It was an experience that helped me keep in check too. We had a lot of social/youth workers, nurses, teachers and counselors looking for help or resources for clients or their students, many of whom are closeted, scared and uncertain of where to go and who to connect with. In the last few months, I feel like I've taken coming out for granted, now that I've got an army of support behind me, so it's kind of a reality check to hear the struggles the loved ones of these people are going through and looking for support. We also had a few people approach us with ideas for different social and community groups that they would like to see (Playdates for LGBT parents and their kids, a social club for young adults, among other things).

I really liked that this was a smaller event too, especially where an LGBT presence isn't quite as strong. I know a lot of people ask why pride events still exist and what the point of them are, but I think this event was a great example why we still need them. As much as the big Vancouver parade and celebration in August is fun, I think these smaller, grassroots events are important to reach out to populations where the knowledge might not be there and the resources for LGBT community is a little more limited. We had one gentleman from Chilliwack, a more rural city even further outside the city, approach us for help in starting their own pride society and needed help connecting to our organizers to see what needed to be done and what could be offered out there. And the amount of straight-supporters that came to us looking for groups and services to help their friends, loved ones, clients, etc. spoke to this need too.

In all, a very insightful experience. It's a different experience, but I'm looking forward to the big celebration in a few weeks. One of the events going on is a huge street party on Davie St., Vancouver's gay neighbourhood, which should be a blast. It'll also give me an excuse to wear this out more...

Congrats to you guys in the States! Hopefully this shirt won't make sense in the near future!


  1. It's been a while since you've posted anything, hope everything is OK. Would love to hear an update on how things are going. Happy Holidays!!!

  2. i WAS JUST GONNA OST THE SAME THING ANONYMOS JUST SAID...oppps just look'd up and saw the caps were I'm not yelling really....take care my almost new friend