As queer as it sounds, one of my all-time favourite events when I lived in Vancouver, Canada, was the annual Gay Pride Parade. I, myself, am as straight as a Saskatchewan highway, but I happen to adore drag queens and have been an elite status member of the GWLBWLB* club since my early university days.
*(girls who like boys who like boys)
I think that any celebration that fosters goodwill toward our fellow man (and woman, and anywhere in between) is a great thing to ‘come out’ for.
Plus it is not just any day that I can get away with wearing glitter and a fake mustache and fit right in. One year, a bronzed bodied go-go dancer even yelled out that I was the prettiest man he had even seen. A true compliment at an event like this.
Not that size matters, but Vancouver’s Pride celebrations are the biggest in Western Canada and one of the most attended in North America. They are also considered to be one of the most successful LGBTQ events in the world.
It’s a free-for-all full of colour, kitsch, near-nudity, energy galore, and a hell of a lot of fun.
Organized by the Vancouver Pride Society (VPS), a non-profit, volunteer-run organization, the larger than life parade first started it’s hijinks in 1978 (or ’81 depending on who you talk to).
Fabulous diva-licious drag queens, go-go boys, lovely lesbians, gay rights activists, giant teddy bears- you name it, they’ve got it. Upwards of 150 entries pass through the streets that surround the famously gay Davie street district. Scantily clad participants throw Mardi-Gras beads and hand out flavoured condoms and informational pamphlets to a crowd as diverse as Canada itself.
You don’t have to be gay to go to a pride parade. Heck, you don’t even have to know anyone who is gay. This celebration of acceptance, expression, and individuality is something that everyone should experience at least once.
This year’s Vancouver Pride Parade struts it’s stuff on August 2, 2015. There are also many other events going on for pride week including a block party, Pride Burlesque, and the Queer Arts Festival.
Check out the Vancouver Pride Society website for more information.
For photos from past years, parade on over to my photo website.