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Vancouver mayor won't attend Pride

Vancouver mayor won't attend Pride

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City hall proclaims Pride Week in Vancouver
For the first time in eight years, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson will not be in the Pride parade when it takes to the streets at noon on Sunday, Aug 5.

Instead, he’ll be on a business mission to the London Olympics.

“There’s a whole effort to bring jobs and investment back from the UK,” he told Xtra after officially proclaiming July 30 to Aug 5 Pride Week in Vancouver at city hall.

“I’m a little heartbroken to miss this year,” he says, “but I’m sure it will be as epic as past years.”

Bill Monroe, one of three grand marshals at this year’s parade, graced city hall’s launch with her alter ego, the Queen. “I hope you’re not too disappointed that I didn’t skydive from a helicopter with James Bond,” Monroe said in highbrow Queen’s English tones to applause and laughter. “I think that is one entrance I will never repeat.

“To be a queen is very difficult,” Her Majesty observed. “To be a queen for 60 years is even more so.

“You are different and I understand what different is. This week, we are celebrating the right of many to be different. This includes race, religion, sexual orientation and all the different things that make Vancouver and all of British Columbia a delight to live in.” 

“It means celebrating the gains and re-committing to more work and achievement towards equality,” Robertson says. “It’s another important checkpoint in our progress.”

Robertson has repeatedly touted Pride as an economic and cultural boon to Vancouver. Asked if the event will finally be granted civic designation, he says it’s still in the works but points to lean budgetary circumstances as a setback to progress on that front.

“We’re hopeful that pressure eases, and we have some more opportunities with funding,” Robertson says. “We’ve got staff working on looking at all the parades and celebrations.”
 
“There’s a lot of causes and communities that can barely get out on the street to celebrate or protest,” he notes. “The Vancouver Pride Society and all its network have done remarkably well at building such a potent week, and that’s taken a little pressure off the city on the funding side.”

Vancouver Pride Society president Tim Richards says there is much to celebrate in Vancouver and Canada as a whole, but it’s also a week to reflect, to be courageous and to challenge the status quo.

“It is a time to spark conversation and debate — to make statements about what needs to change,” he told the gathering.

“As we begin our city’s 34th Pride Week, let us not be afraid to ask some difficult questions: is it okay for kids to continue to be bullied in schools? Is it okay that transgender members of our community do not share the same rights as everyone else? Is it okay that people in so many countries can be imprisoned or put to death simply because of their sexuality, gender expression or gender identity?”

For this year’s grand marshals — Miss Universe Canada’s first transgender contestant, Jenna Talackova, Monroe and late community activist David Holtzman — questions like these have only served to inspire action, Richards observed.

“This Pride Week I ask you to be brave, be bold, be visible — maybe a little bit of glitter,” he said.
 
Earlier, a panel of 12 speakers sat in the seats usually occupied by city councillors. Coast Salish physician Evan Adams, who has three gay nephews under the age of 25, says he’s thankful things have evolved from the time he grew up. But his nephews constantly remind him that the community needs to speak up and tell its stories.

“They don’t want resounding silence when they come into the room; they want to hear the stories of those who came before them.”

“We have missing stories,” playwright and comedian Jan Derbyshire agreed. Like the story of her own coming out to her then five-year-old daughter, who accepted her wholeheartedly.

Not so long ago, being homosexual was considered a psychiatric illness. Now, Derbyshire says, she feels privileged to be able to “call in queer to work.”

But there’s still a lot of shame and hiding, she notes. “We need to be talking more.”

“Art is a way of bringing the issues out, away from political argument, so that the political arguments can happen,” she says.

Video game producer Kelly Worrall says being transgender is still a challenge in terms of income disparity and acceptance, even within the queer community. Trans women are still largely not accepted in lesbian communities, she says.

“We face discrimination 100 percent of the time; we are always out wherever we go,” she says. Before saying one word at job interviews, she says, the person on the other side of the table has often already decided that she is going to be “a bit of a problem for their team chemistry.”

For the mayor, this year has signalled long overdue attention to transphobia. “Finally, there’s a lot more discussion and engagement around transgender people, and their time is finally coming,” Robertson says. “It feels like the media have carried their message more reliably, and that’s emboldened people to step up and make gains while the attention is on.”

“Having Vancouver electeds stand up at every level is crucial,” he adds. “We tend to lead our country in making these changes, and taking those strong positions. “

“I ask you to debate the question raised here today and other questions that were raised in chambers, with your co-workers, your neighbours, your family and your friends,” Richards urged the gathering.

Comments

Study in support of Marc...
I stumbled across a university study that cited very little net benefit to these junkets. It was on a reputable site by an equally reputable university. But unfortunately I can't find it now, otherwise I would enthusiastically share it with you, Marc. They just don't pay off.
Couldnt' care less
If he attends or not. What I do care about is this waste of OUR tax $$ for this supposed trip. WASTE OF MONEY, JUST LIKE CHRISTY CLARK, THESE 2 BELONG TOGETHER ON AN ISLAND.
Mayor of Not - Pride Goes On Starting Now
The Mayor has attended over half a dozen parades and is a huge supporter. I think that if he cannot be here - life, and Pride, still goes on. HOWEVER - I think that Pride needs to start closer to home and closer to now - as in this moment. Last night there was a gay bashing at the bus stop at Nicola and Davie. It was 12:25 AM. Two young males, maybe Indo-Canadian, average build, one was 5'9" or 5'10", the other was 5'11", black base ball caps, shorts, short sleave shirts, were yelling "faggots" to people walking by from the Davie Street Pride Festival. They even tried to block people walking West on Davie. They wanted to start a fight. Incredibly - and despite the many posters on light poles in the West End telling people to call 911 (as over 54% of verbal gay bashings escalate into physical bashings) - NO ONE called the police. Dozens walked by. I did not have a cell phone and tried to flag down a police car. Pride starts with defending each other - not being pink sheep. WE need to be in the parade showing our strength and by being proud all year round. Call 911 if you hear anyone yelling "faggot", "queer," "homo" etc. Your life or the one of someone you know may literally hang on it.
Agree with Mark
Mark: maybe we could get a Facebook page up petitioning Mayor Moonbeam to stay there. :-)
it's alright
Best wishes in London Gregor! Your cuteness and commitment to queers will be missed at Pride.
Xtra video!
Hi Ken! We won't be streaming Pride but we will post fabulous video coverage of the parade in all its glory. Keep an eye on xtra.ca this weekend for our video, news reports and other stories from Pride. Enjoy Panama!
streaming?
Wondering who this year is streaming Vancouver's fabulous Pride Parade this year. Unfortunately can't be there in person, but would be great to spend my afternoon here in western Panama taking it in. Anyone with an answer? Thank you.
???????
"Bring back jobs and investment from the UK" Most MORONIC statement ever! This is more like a vacation disguised to us stupid masses as something it is not. What a blatant waste of tax dollars. I would love to know the mayor's exact itinerary and a report on what he found and is "bringing back" from the UK to us in BC. STOP THE INSANITY!!!!!!!!!!
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