Show us Your Rainbow – Pride Week in Vancouver

There was a lot going on in Vancouver this weekend, I’m going to need a couple of blogs to cover it!  But to kick it off, here are some of the sights and fun of Pride Week, an event I always enjoy. My favourite Pride memory is still a Sunday a few years ago, 2003 to be exact, when a friend I were headed down to the West End to watch the Pride Parade. We parked quite a few blocks away and were walking down towards the beach when we met two men, about our own age, obviously from out of town and just as obviously lost. As we were all rushing in the same general direction they stopped us and asked us if we were heading to the parade and if we could give them directions. We brought them along with us and found out that they had been married the day before.  They were both so obviously happy and so delighted to be finally, legally married that whenever a discussion about same-sex marriage comes up, I always remember those two people, happy and in love, regardless of gender.  Canada was the fourth country in the world, and the first outside of Europe, to legalize same-sex marriage.

We were sitting having brunch on Commercial Drive on Saturday when through the open patio doors came the roar of hogs, closely followed by the sight of naked breasts on large motorcycles.

Dykes on bikes

It was the Dykes on Bikes, the vanguard of the  Vancouver Dyke March. I’d love to link directly to the the DM website, but it was down because it had exceeded bandwidth – what an awesome problem to have! The Dyke March officially kicks off Pride Week and it “prides” itself (pun fully intended!) on being much less mainstream and commercial than the official Pride Parade.

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Have to admit I had to google “Foreskin Pride” – I was completely stumped as to how that could relate to the Dyke March.  Turns out it doesn’t . . .except that it’s about freedom of choice and in BC . . .well there is an old saying that any gathering of more half a dozen people in BC is a protest – I think it stems from either the Clayquot Sound anti-logging protests or maybe the labour rallies . . .could be either here in Lotus Land!  Anyway, Foreskin Pride seems to be protesting forced circumcision.

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There is even . . .wait for it  . . . a Foreskin Salute.  This video has the PG version of the salute – google away if you want to see the XX rated, Pride Parade version, it’s hilarious.

And yes, the Dyke March is not just about women, it’s about the men who care for them, about families, about equality and Pride.

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City Hall decided to recognize the Davie Street Village this year by painting the crosswalk at Davie and Bute  in a permanent rainbow, not surprisingly one of the first of it’s kind in Canada.  City crews painted it overnight last Sunday and Tim Stevenson, who was the first openly-gay provincial cabinet minister in Canada, made the announcement Monday morning to kick of Pride Week.

rainbow

Sunday it was time for Pride Parade, which after 35 years has grown to be the fifth largest in the world with over 650,000 people and 150 floats in any given year.  I can remember when I first came to Vancouver and went to Pride, it was anything but mainstream and was considerably less commercial and way raunchier than the mostly family friendly parade it’s become, attended by provinicial politicians, tourists, local businesses and families.   Even the venerable Vancouver Opera got in on the action this year with a glamorous float of divas and queens.

diva

boys will be boys

Boys will be boys!

fireman

Even the local firemen get in on the parade.

mayor

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson getting his Pride on.

The sun was shining, it was Sunday Funday, colourful, loud, sparkling, Pride.

Sunday funday

And because she’s one heck of a diva, Grace Potter – Paris – Ooh La La!

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