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VICTORIA PRIDE WEEK: YOUR GUIDE TO PRIDE 2018

The following Guide to Pride was provided by guest blog contributor, Victoria Pride Society.

Pride month is almost here and the countdown to Victoria’s Twenty-fifth Annual Pride Parade and Pride Week 2018 is live on the Victoria Pride Society’s newly revamped and relaunched website.

Pride Week takes place from July 1-8 and, as always, the Victoria Pride Society has so much to enjoy. Hence this handy-dandy “Guide to Pride 2018”! 

 

PRIDE OFFICIAL – FREE EVENTS

Here are a few free highlights the Victoria Pride Society hosts during Pride Week:

Youth Pride Kick-Off Party 
June 23 | 6:30-10pm | Fairfield Gonzales Community Association
LGBT+ and ally youth 18 and under are invited to come be part of this free event featuring music, food and beverages. Bring a donation for the clothing swap or participate in arts and crafts tables. There will be a panel discussion and Q&A with some of Victoria’s premiere drag performers as well as a drag show.

The Annual Memorial Dragball 
July 1 | 12pm | Vic West Ballpark 
See Kings and Queens battle it out on a baseball diamond in moustaches and heels! Bring a picnic and take in the bedazzled entertainment starting at noon on July 1 at the Vic West Ballpark.

Big Gay Dog Walk 
July 6 | 6-9pm | Beacon Hill Park
Gather and mingle with your furry friends! Join us on a big gay group dog walk, play some games, show off your style and check out the latest gear. And yes, you are welcome even if you don’t have a doggie companion of your own.

The 25th Annual Victoria Pride Parade 
July 8 | 11am 
Watch over 100 floats and thousands of participants of all ages decked out in glittery outfits and some hot choreography in The Pride Parade as it winds its way from downtown to MacDonald Park, where the Pride Festival kicks off with vendors and live entertainment. The Pride Parade starts at 11a.m. and winds its way down Government Street to James Bay.

Insider tip: grab your spot on the parade route early to get the best view, then follow the parade to James Bay for a massive party in the park. 

The Pride Festival 
July 8 | 12:30pm 
Macdonald Park will fill with thousands of people to commemorate the end of Pride Week with a giant community celebration. The festival has a food court, beer garden, vendors, a kid’s camp and two stages with a variety of entertainment from drag to burlesque and live music. 
 

ABSOLUTELY DRAGULOUS – DRAG EVENTS

Victoria has a vibrant drag artist community who perform on stages and in clubs around the city all year. But during Pride, some special out-of-town guests will make appearances alongside our Capital City royalty.

Official Victoria Pride Kick-Off Party & Annual House of Gabor Beach Party 
June 30 | 10:30pm | Capital City Ballroom 
House of Gabor’s Beach Party, hosted by none other than Gouda Gabor, will feature a stage filled with performers (including Brat Pack and headliner, The Spice Gurls), the beats of DJ Nims, and an excuse to wear those floral shorts. 
$15 advance via Ticket Rocket or $20 at the door

Royal Pride Night 
July 3 | 10pm | Paparazzi Nightclub 
Come on down & meet your new Mr. and Ms. Gay Vancouver Island and Mr. & Ms. Paparazzi 
$5 at the door.

 

QUEER ART – PRIDE & BEYOND

Pride in the Word 
July 7 | 7pm | Ambrosia Centre 
Pride in the Word is Canada’s largest all-ages Pride literary event and a perennial favourite at Pride Victoria. The event is hosted by Billeh Nickerson and features Amber Dawn, Anne Fleming, Monique Gray Smith, David Ly, Arleen Pare, Rabbit Richards and Kai Cheng Thom. 
Tickets $13

Women's March Victoria Symposium
July 21 | 12pm-5pm | UVIC 
This Symposium will commemorate six months after the 2018 Women’s March. This is a community-building and fundraising event. Meet the people who came to the march in January and create a speaking platform for women in our community whose work aligns with the H.E.R.S. values (health, economic security, representation, and safely) outlined by Women’s March Canada. Hear from speakers and leaders from the last march who are making a difference, and how we can continue to work together for positive change.

#LOVEISWELCOMEHERE

WHAT’S PRIDE ALL ABOUT, ANYWAY?

By Sean Guist

Pride is a celebration of community, of queer life, queer culture and of our allies and families - those we were born into and those we have chosen. It is also a time of reflection - to see how far we have come in acceptance and equality and a reminder of how much work is still ahead of us. We wave our rainbow flags proudly in Victoria, but in many cities and towns across Canada there is rampant homophobia, transphobia, and acceptance is slow-moving. In Lethbridge, Alberta, where I studied theatre at the U of L, the city's rainbow flag crosswalk and trans pride flag crosswalk (the first in Canada) were vandalized repeatedly, smeared with tar and manure. 

Pride can bring together communities, inspire conversation and is a catalyst for change. In Lethbridge, the night before the pride parade, a group of University of Lethbridge Pronghorn athletes stayed up all night, camped out on the street and stood guard to make sure that the rainbow and trans pride crosswalks weren't defaced before the parade. We live in a country where many of the elders in our community have criminal records for being homosexual, where there is still a fight for the right to pee, and where queer and trans youth are kicked out of their homes. We also live in a country where our Prime Minster and his family proudly marched in Toronto's Pride Parade. 

So when you tie on your rainbow bandana for the Victoria Pride Parade, take a moment to reflect. Take a moment to promise yourself to make a difference, big or small this year. Volunteer or support organizations that are fighting injustice and atrocities across the globe, say something when you hear a homophobic comment, make a safe space for coming out, march in the parade, and don't just do it this week. Do it all year long.

Happy Pride, see you at the parade!

ABOUT SEAN

Sean Guist is an arts administrator by day and queer artist by night, though that line is blurring. He has directed, performed in, designed and created theatre, operas and cabarets across Western Canada and is the curator of Intrepid Theatre's OUTstages Festival, Victoria's queer theatre festival. Sean is a prairie boy living life on the west coast. He will be walking in the Pride Parade with Intrepid Theatre for the 5th time this year.