Since moving out west, my life just seems to be getting gayer and gayer! That has a lot to do with the ways I’ve changed since coming out, having some great queer friends and social outlets, and having a partner who has no qualms about wearing rainbow in public, which makes me feel comfortable doing the same. With my newfound queer confidence, I’ve been integrating that part of my identity into everyday life – not just socially but also through volunteer experience and research projects at school.
However, one of the most fun aspects of my increasingly supergay identity has been West Coast Pride festivals! I was lucky enough to attend a bunch of events this summer in both Victoria and Vancouver. It was exciting to do more than just watch the parades, which, although enjoyable, is all I’ve really done at the handful of Pride festivals I’ve been to in the past. This year, I got to coordinate multiple rainbow and unicorn outfits.
These were some of the highlights:
Vancouver Pride (parade on the August long weekend)
Davie Street Party: The lineups for alcohol and lineups for bracelets to buy alcohol and lineups to top up those bracelets were ridiculous and horrible, but I’m going to assume that they are aware of that and will do something to improve it for next year. So, that aside, what I got to see of this outdoor street party was great, especially the Silent Disco! Bonus: it happens near all the bars that hold parties afterwards, so you don’t have to worry about getting from one place to another. Just make sure to buy tickets to the parties beforehand.
Wreck Beach: OK, this isn’t technically part of Pride, but we took a morning off to hang out at this gorgeous beach by the UBC campus… which just happens to be a clothing optional beach. It was quiet early on, but eventually got pretty packed with people wanting full body tans; different genders, age groups, and levels of (amounts of?) attire were represented. Basically, anything goes. Yep, I stripped down and exposed my poor, beluga bum to the ruthless sun (i.e. I was dumb and waited too long to apply sunscreen). When I described my morning to my sister, she told me I was badass, but I quickly corrected her with the only accurate word for the whole situation: pinkass! Very very pink and very very painful.
El Hangover: A parking lot “pool” party for women with a large, inflatable, kiddie pool and inflatable pool toys, lots of beer, dancing, a fun performer – it was a fuzzy afternoon!
Dykes on Bikes – Riding in the parade: This was my top Pride experience! I was really lucky to get an invitation to ride on the back of my girlfriend’s bike (yeah, she’s badass :D). We met the other DoB at a café on Commercial Drive, and had a mini procession as we all rode over to the parade together. The bikers lined their motorcycles up at the front of the action, and we waited for the parade to kick off. Just behind us were a group of individuals carrying wooden posts with large pictures of each of the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. They would spread out and walk with different groups in the parade.
When it was time to go, I put on a bold, extrovert mask – we were heading the parade, so we had to pump up the crowd. I climbed onto the bike, took off my tank (not my sports bra, I wasn’t feeling that bold!) revealing my perfect half sunburn, and began waving and shouting “Happy Pride” as we whizzed along the route. The crowd was huge and enthusiastic, anticipating Justin Trudeau. We rode out in front, and circled back every few blocks. I couldn’t stop smiling.
Victoria Pride (parade on the weekend after Canada Day):
Drag Baseball: Every year, Victoria Pride begins on Canada Day weekend with the Drag Baseball game. Kings play against Queens in a version of the sport where the rules are made up and the points don’t matter while the spectators drink in the park! Even with a bit of rain this year, there was a huge crowd.
Rooftop volleyball: an event run by Wicked Wench, a group in Victoria that throws regular events/dance parties for queer women and trans folks. Beach volleyball at a rooftop bar, hot DJ, need I say more? You don’t need to be an experienced volleyball player (or – *ahem* – any good) to play!
Salt Spring Island Pride is coming up in September, and it’s supposed to be great too! Looking forward to more gayvents in the next year; maybe West Coast USA next summer!