Every year, a number of notable names march in the Vancouver Pride parade—and this year is no exception.
From the entertainment industry, several Sense8 cast members and co-creator Lana Wachowski will be joining in the annual LGBT march on Sunday (August 6).
From the world of sports, there’ll be representation from some local professional teams.
Vancouver Canucks defenceman Erik Gudbranson, teammate Troy Stecher, mascot Finn, and about 30 Canucks staff members will march in the parade.
"The hockey community is all about being inclusive," Gudbranson stated in a news release. "Everybody should feel comfortable in their own skin. Having sport get in the way of someone based on sexual orientation or gender or race is absolutely wrong. Everyone is very open-minded in the hockey community and it's good to be out there showing that and supporting that."
Gudbranson just finished his first season with the Canucks. Previously, he played five seasons with the Florida Panthers.
The first member of the Canucks to march in the parade was Manny Malhotra in 2012 (who is now a Canucks assistant coach), who joined You Can Play cofounder Patrick Burke as well as Canucks defenceman Jason Garrison in the festivities.
Last year, Canucks forward Emerson Etem represented the team in the parade.
On February 28, Canucks players wore special rainbow jerseys during the warmup for a game against the Detroit Red Wings for the You Can Play Night and the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone initiative to promote safety and inclusion for all sports participants, from players to fans.
Also in February, Henrik Sedin was named the team’s LGBTQ ambassador.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Meanwhile, the Vancouver Whitecaps FC will have staff marching in the parade with their mascot Spike.
On August 19, they’ll be presenting their annual Whitecaps Pride Night at B.C. Place in a game against Houston Dynamo, which will start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $27.
Pre-game entertainment, starting at 5:30 p.m., will feature OutTV’s Connie Smudge hosting demonstrations by Terminal City Roller Girls and Rain City Ultimate Club. There’ll also be a queer beer garden.
A Pride march to the game will start at Doolin's Pub at 654 Nelson Street (at Granville Street) and head along Robson Street to B.C. Place.
Roundhouse Radio host and LGBT community figure Barb Snelgrove will lead the teams out on to the field before the game and Chor Leoni Men’s Choir will sing the national anthems.
For more information, visit the Whitecaps website.
Meanwhile, the B.C. Lions created a new You Can Play video, which was posted on their site on August 4.
Here’s one from 2015 featuring BC Lions’ Marco Iannuzzi, who previously hosted a panel discussion featuring queer athletes at a 2013 You Can Play event in Burnaby.
There's also a B.C. Lions Pride shirt available for $19.95.
While these may only seem like small steps, you only have to take a look at the arguments that have broken out online over the BC Lions simply posting a Pride-themed logo, which BC Lions is actively standing up to.
It shows how deeply entrenched homophobia and transphobia remains, particularly within fields such as sports, and how much there is still to do before a truly equal playing field can be made available to everyone.