Vancouver Pride announces grand marshals for 2018 parade

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      The Vancouver Pride Society (VPS), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, announced today (June 14) the grand marshals for the 2018 Vancouver Pride parade.

      While the City of Vancouver declared 2018 as Year of the Queer, due to numerous milestone anniversaries of local LGBT organizations, this year's parade marshals reflect a mix of elder and youth generations, and includes Indigenous representation.

      Laurie McDonald
      Greater Vancouver Native Culture Two-Spirit Society

      Laurie McDonald, from the Enoch Cree Nation (near Edmonton, Alberta), is a two-spirit activist and residential-school survivor with a career in education and social work devoted to protecting the rights of Indigenous children and restoring pride to two-spirit people. Along with Neil Wilson and Chief Louie Grate, he cofounded the Greater Vancouver Native Culture Two-Spirit Society, which is celebrating its 41st anniversary.

      Ron Dutton began creating the B.C. Gay and Lesbian Archives in the 1970s and has amassed over three-quarter of a million items. Having outgrown his storage capacity, he donated it to the City of Vancouver Archives in March for conservation and conversion into searchable permanent formats, as well as public access.

      The third grand marshal will be the crew of the short documentary "A Mile in Our Moccasins", which was designed to address HIV stigma, myths, and misconceptions. It was created by five Indigenous youth after the development of an Indigenous youth speaker series designed to present information and guidance about HIV and sexual health.

      This year's theme, Bring All of You, encourages people to eschew social pressures to suppress or compartmentalize their various identities and to present themselves as they truly are. The parade will be held on August 5.

      Vancouver Pride Society

      Meanwhile on May 24, the VPS presented the StandOut Awards (formerly known as the Pride Legacy Awards) to honour outstanding individuals in LGBT communities in six categories:

      Business leader (red): Alex Sangha, founder of South Asian LGBT organization Sher Vancouver

      Educator (orange): Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity executive director Jeremy Dias

      Social activism (yellow): Queer ASL founder Zoée Montpetit

      Environmentalism (green): visual artist Marisa Pahl

      Youth (blue): Out in Schools youth facilitator Serene Carter

      Kimberly Nixon trans, two-spirit, gender non-conforming contribution to community award (purple): Squamish Nation council member Orene Askew (DJ O Show)

      Sher Vancouver founder Alex Sangha
      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook. You can also follow the Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at @StraightLGBT or on Facebook.