Get your queer joy on!
Happy Pride Month, everyone! June is dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQ+ community in memory of the Stonewall Riots of June 1969. In 2023, Pride Month is recognized as a time of diversity, acceptance — and rainbows. As a UVic student who’s on the mainland for the summer, I’ve come up with 10 ways Vancouverites can kick off their Pride this summer with local events and at-home activities.
Vancouver Pride Parade and VanPrideFest
The most anticipated Pride event in Vancouver is the annual parade and festival hosted by the Vancouver Pride Society. The parade will brighten the streets of downtown Vancouver from 12–3 p.m. on Aug. 6, featuring wild and colourful floats with dancers, drag artists, and Pride merchandise. VanPrideFest is Aug. 5–6 outside Concord Pacific Place, hosting LGBTQ+ festivities including live music and performances. Wear rainbow swag to match the energy of the masses!
East Side Pride
Searching for a Pride event this June? East Side Pride in Grandview Park on June 24 from 12–7 p.m. promises a set of talented drag performers, live musicians, and even a showcase run by Science World. Surrounding the main stage will be an artisan market and local food vendors. Rainbow fun for all ages!
Vancouver Pride Run
A fast-paced way to appreciate the LGBTQ+ community this summer could be participating in the Vancouver Pride Run in Stanley Park on July 23. Don’t worry, if speed isn’t your thing, walking is encouraged. Plus, aside from 5 km and 10 km courses, there will be food, entertainment, and prizes!
Pride Block Party
The perfect opportunity to make LGBTQ+ friends comes Aug. 6. 16 West Restaurant in North Van is hosting their first ever Pride Block Party from 12–5 p.m. Hosted by drag artist Phyllis Hull, this event is a great opportunity to enjoy food and drinks while watching live performances by drag artists and DJs.
Delta Pride Picnic
For a chill and casual afternoon of celebration, swing by the Delta Pride Picnic in Memorial Park on Aug. 20. Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch, visit colourful booths from local organizations, and watch local drag artists perform from 11–3 p.m.
Volunteer at a Pride event
Many public Pride events, including the Vancouver Pride Parade, need volunteers to facilitate their festivities. While helping create a space for inclusion and love to thrive is already amazing, you’re bound to make friends with other volunteers who are passionate about the cause!
Watch or read LGBTQ+ media
This is my personal favourite way to source queer joy during Pride Month (and all year long, honestly). Visit your local bookstore or library — the best ones will have a seasonal Pride table. My recommendations would be The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan, The Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis, and She Gets The Girl by Alyson Derrick and Rachael Lippincott.
Did you know many streaming services also have a genre category for LGBTQ+ movies and shows? To provide an extensive list of recommendations, you can’t miss Heartstopper, Everything Sucks, Feel Good, Sex Education, and I Am Not Ok With This on Netflix, and The Wilds and A League of Their Own on Amazon Prime Video.
Learn about LGBTQ+ history and culture
Research seems daunting, especially for allies who aren’t sure what they’re getting themselves into. Luckily, on the internet, education comes in many formats and there’s something for everyone. My favourite ways to learn about LGBTQ+ history are podcasts and YouTube videos. Two podcasts featuring queer voices are Making Gay History and AfroQueer, and some YouTube channels with entertaining historical summaries are Jessicaoutofthecloset, STRANGEONS, and PhilosophyTube.
Listen to queer music
Music has always been a powerful medium for political activism, but it only gets better when the songs are bangers. Support queer and trans artists on your chosen streaming service, or search for LGBTQ+ playlists compiling them together. Even better, build a Pride-themed mix of your own!
Donate to LGBTQ+ organizations
The most helpful and productive way to support the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month is to donate to organizations working to better the lives of LGBTQ+ people. A relevant place to donate to would be the Tennessee Equality Project in support of youth in Tennessee coping with recent anti-trans legislation. Other great options are the Pride Foundation and the Trevor Project.
Whether you’re part of the LGBTQ+ community or an ally, take care of yourself and have a safe and fun June. Hopefully this list set you up with some plans to enjoy your summer with Pride!