Vancouver boasts a bevy of LGBT sports and activity-oriented organizations and that's good news for numerous reasons.
While they offer opportunities for physical health, they can help with mental health, by getting people out and about. They also provide alternatives for social networking outside of the bar and club scene. As sports and athletics have remained one of the last bastions of homophobia and transphobia that concerted efforts are devoted to tackling, such as the You Can Play campaign, LGBT sports teams help to also break down stereotypes and prejudices against queer athletes.
And so it's fitting that tomorrow (July 22) will be a day filled with sports activities, with the backing of some local professional sports teams to boot.
First up, the day will kick off with the annual Pride Run and Walk, presented by the LGBT running and walking club Vancouver Frontrunners.
Held from 9 a.m. to noon, the event is a fundraiser for Out in Schools and the LOUD Foundation Scholarship Fund. Out in Schools, run by Out on Screen, is a program that makes presentations to address homophobia, transphobia, bullying, and other issues in schools. The LOUD Foundation Scholarship Fund awards scholarships to emerging leaders to help them pursue their studies. Their 2017 recipients were recently announced at a gala presentation on June 8.
For more information, visit the event page on Facebook.
After the Pride Run, it's time for sports day.
This year, the Vancouver Pride Society has teamed up with the Vancouver Canucks, BC Lions, and Vancouver Whitecaps FC to present the 2017 Pride Sports Day.
Last year, Vancouver Canucks' Emerson Etem marched in the Pride parade with You Can Play's Patrick Burke. Previously, Vancouver Canucks' Manny Malhotra and Jason Garrison participated in the 2012 Vancouver Pride parade. In February, Henrik Sedin was named the team's LGBTQ ambassador.
Among the BC Lions' displays of support for LGBT people, BC Lions widereceiver Marco Iannuzzi moderated a You Can Play event about queer athletes in Burnaby in 2013.
And Vancouver Whitecaps FC's numerous LGBT initiatives have included holding annual Pride nights and launching a special-edition rainbow scarf in 2014 with all proceeds going to You Can Play (which turned out to be their highest-selling scarf).
This free, family-friendly event will be held at Second Beach tomorrow (July 22) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
There'll be live music, a beer garden, vendors, food trucks, community groups, and—of course—sports and recreational activities to take part in. A sober picnic space is being hosted by Last Door Recovery Society.
This isn't your typical sports day and there's historical significance as well. This event dates back to the 1980s, when it was originally called the Teddy Bear Picnic during a time when LGBT people rarely gathered in outdoor spaces due to homophobia and transphobia.
More details about the event is available on Facebook.