Event 59: Vancouver Pride…proud, colourful and in my eyes cashing in…

Loud whistles, glitter, colour and passion was part of the “Festival” starter packs being sold from all le-git corner shops in Vancouver. It was Pride weekend but for me it was an interesting watch and hopefully this is therefore a interesting read…

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What was the event?

What: Vancouver Pride

Where: Vancouver Downtown

When: 4th August 2019

The story begins…

“Hello Guys and Darlings…” came screaming out of one of the many floats zooming past during the parade on Sunday the 4th of August…this was by a very well dressed drag queen who was entertaining the thousands who lined up for the parade flying their flags.

The LBGT community celebrates Pride and so does the rest of the world and society. Vancouver Pride a fish bowl of every brand jumping in for exposure during the biggest event of the month. Approx 650,000 people attend the Parade where messages and liberation is celebrated. Where walking through the streets with colour combined with noise is about celebrating pride. “HAPPY PRIDE…” is all I hear…but I wanted this blog to be a discussion regarding what I seen and my reaction in terms of how suddenly the rainbow flags flew and then they disappeared.

Some people will agree and disagree with this post – but that’s important. Blogs aren’t just to be read – there about creating educated debate. I arrived to Vancouver when “excitement” was building for Vancouver Pride. Excitement not just within the LGBT community but with the whole city. Streets had flags draped in every possible corner, pedestrian crossings painted rainbow and so on. It was great to see – I was feeling there was huge support for Pride. But then I started to talk to many people from the LGBT community and I could understand where they were coming from when they said “its to benefit from the pink dollar…”

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Studies have been done that show that organisations have now switched on to become more savy with how they position there shops, brands and products around Pride. Flags were all over shops and counters, Flight Centre had facepainting opportunities, rainbow ice cream was being sold, there was activations and games and even many people having “#” just for Pride – connected love and so on…After 6 days of being in Vancouver I started to understand myself and this is my own opinion – this was about consumer buy in and that’s it. Yes, some companies have LGBT within their strategic direction but lets be honest some of them that were offering special offers/ happy hours simply for pride with painted in hearts and other “Deals” were totally not thinking about Pride as a protest – which is what the origins are.

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Starbucks was the most hypocritical company in my opinion. On one street, Davie Street known in Vancouver as the heart of the Gay Community, Starbucks had all the windows coloured with the colours of the rainbow – I mean absolutely plastered. All the staff wearing rainbow flags in their hair.  Around the corner to another Starbucks with 200 metres – nothing. Absolutely nothing. Why? Because it is not in the gay community? Maybe – but also if you went in you would see a completely different audience and atmosphere. The next day after pride…the rainbows flags – gone. Badges off of t-shirts…

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But my point here is actually to highlight that just because someone holds a non-recycled free flag do they understand the need to fight for the change of LGBT laws. I was told a comment that pride is a great day because “the gays know how to party…” I watched as those who are hetrosexual had flags and glitter all over there face…but does this mean they would/ will support LGBT rights through the year by writing to their MP’s, community leaders? I cannot rule it a party was in full swing and some of the drag artists were rather fabulous. Or does it disappear…because its not “Pride weekend” anymore the party was over. Struggles for the LGBT community aren’t just for one day but also Pride is not a party – it’s a protest for voices for the future. But instead I saw…a party that for thousands of people misunderstood.

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The event in Vancouver does really bring a buzz to the city – but I wanted to give a very honest opinion about what I saw and felt. As the parades flitered in and the main music stages were in full operation – it was a party and I happily watched as everyone enjoyed the celebrations. But there is more than the party angle and I hope that one day everyone that goes with their colourful outfits, with friends or alone and no mater of what community they are part of – fits for the rights of those who deserve to have the same as the rest of communities…

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One thing to take away…

Events are movements but sometimes commercialization has completely changed the actual direction. So with Skittle, Flight Centre, Durex, Apple, Walmart…I hope every day of every year they tell every customer the required fights needed for LGBT supporters but there attention would be about cashing in front he pink dollar.

If everyone there wrote one letter to one MP I am sure there would be changes faster happening…

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