Vancouver Pride aims to “Reconnect” with its 2023 season

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      It’s day two of Pride Month for most of the capitalist world, but Vancouver’s idiosyncratic August-centric Pride celebrations means we get a whole heckin’ season of lead-up events—the biggest and best-advertised of which are the festivities put on by Vancouver Pride Society (VPS).

      VPS announced in a release that this year, the theme of the celebrations is “Reconnect”. 

      “‘Reconnect’ embodies the VPS's ongoing commitment to amplifying the voices of queer, trans, Black, Indigenous, and racialized communities,” the organization said in a press release. “It signifies an opportunity to reconnect with our history, physical spaces, and most importantly, with each other.” 

      Events start with the all-ages East Side Pride on June 24 at Grandview Park, featuring an artisan market, local food stalls, science demonstrations—and plenty of East Van drag, hosted by stunt queen Batty B Banks. 

      Between July 28 and August 6, local LGBTQ2S+ events organizers like Ricecake, House of Bukuru and Normie Corp will curate events around the city—including ballroom stalwarts Van Vogue Jam hosting the Posh Ball at Parq Vancouver. 

      While the full programming schedule isn’t out yet, the Davie Longue will also play host to a variety of creative queerness, such as non-binary drag house ENBY 6; Indigenous burlesque troupe Virago Nation; and the first-ever all-Black Pride party, presented by AfroQueer on August 5.

      Concord Pacific Place—Pride’s new home—will be packed with stuff to do on August 5 and 6, with organizers promising concerts, DJs, drag performances and more. The annual parade will take place on August 6, starting at Davie and Denman Street and snaking around Beach Avenue and Pacific Street to end near Science World.

      “This new site … and the [improved] accessibility are all in efforts to have community feel a sense of ownership over their Pride, a connection to their Pride and a place where they can bring their community and feel safe and included and invited,” Allison Dunne, VPS co-executive director, told the Straight in April.

      The headlining pride parade in August will also see representatives from Our Health, a Canada-wide survey from the Community-Based Research Centre (CBRC) that’s trying to learn more about queer and trans people with chronic health conditions who are under-served by medical institutions.

      While the queer and trans community has plenty of reasons to be suspicious of the medical establishment—as well as financial, social, practical or systemic barriers that hamper access—Our Health is conducted by researchers with lived experience. Research will take place at 20 Pride events across Canada and aims to improve LGBTQ2S+ health equity.

      “Health research has an opportunity to use an intersectional lens—with the pandemic's distinct impact on LGBTQ2S+ community members living with chronic health conditions,” Anu Radha Verma, who heads CBRC’s research into LGBTQ2S+ community chronic health, said in a statement. “We want to honour individual and collective experiences, while advocating for systemic change."