2023 Van Pride Magazine

Page 38

Presenting Sponsor:

#Reconnect 2023

Plan Your Pride
Pride Event Schedule
Festival Maps
Pride Lounge
Music and Books
and More!
Inside: •
OVER. p. 33
BE LOUD. BE PROUD. Together, we must ensure that our voices are heard, our rights are upheld, and our future is one of equality and acceptance. Wishing you a happy and safe PRIDE, ~ Hedy Hon. Hedy Fry, P.C., M.P. #112 - 1030 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G 2M6 604.666.0135 hedy.fry@parl.gc.ca | HedyFry.com
Reconnect 2023 3
4 Reconnect 2023

Welcomes ................08 Message from the Board


2023 VanPride Magazine #Reconnect

Editor: Kaschelle Thiessen

Publisher: Gail Nugent

Design, Layout & Sales Support: Tara Rafiq

Cover photo: Jade Weekes

#Reconnect theme art: Bronté Tolentino

Sales: Alison Clay, Kristina Mameli


Editor's letter

Like many, I contracted COVID-19 during the last few years. Like fewer, I developed long covid, kicked underlying conditions into overdrive, and slowly, then abruptly declined, leading to hospital trips, cardiologist appointments, and a declaration in May from my doctor that I needed to stop working for a little while.

It was through this brain foggy miasma that I began working on this year’s Van Pride Magazine and learned that the staff team wanted to focus on accessibility. This resonated deeply with me. As someone who launched the accessibility audits in 2019, I was excited to see that early work grow into a Pride that seeks to be truly accessible for all queers, and as someone whose access needs have grown considerably over the last year, I am relieved to know I can still participate in Pride.

Readers can learn about Vancouver Pride’s accessibility initiatives in Accessibility First (p. 14), discover Parade and Festival

Accessibility (p. 15) features, and hear from queer disability activists in The Fight for Accessible Pride (p. 16) by Phoebe.

Bryce (p. 50) shows how the fight for queer rights extends to children’s literature in Banned, while Pride. Take. Over. demonstrates the power of community organizing in creating inclusive celebrations.

Laura (p. 42) asks three IndigiQueer performers how they connect to Joy in Here. IndigiQueer. And Ready To Dance, A.M. Kirsch (p. 54) connects with her authentic self in Small Town Girl, and Abi (p. 46) explores secret sweetness in Mandarin Oranges

Those ready to plan their Pride can find the Pride Event Schedule (p. 26), Bubly Davie Street Lounge (p. 32), and Community Event Listings (p. 64). Naomi (p. 38) offers Ten Alcohol-Free Beverages to Celebrate Pride while Juztin (p. 20) serves up 10 hits to reconnect on the dance floor in The ultimate 2023 Vancouver Pride Playlist Connecting with your inner world? Sierra (p. 58) provides eight books to Queer Your Summer Reading. However you spend your Pride, don’t forget to play safe: find tips with Harm Reduction (p. 24). Happy Pride… especially to my wife for supporting me through another Pride Mag! ●

Photo by Meg @megsgiallo

RA (they/them) is Vancouver’s nonbinary, Desi drag deity, who serves a juicy slice of their culture in a kamasutRa package. Their drag transcends performance art and empowers enby POCs to embrace their true colours through body positivity and gender expression.

Find Ra serving gag-worthy looks and keep up with their upcoming performances on insta @itsonlyra.


JADE WEEKES (she/her) is a proud Peruvian Transwoman raised in BC. Audio Engineer (Universal Records), Music Video Director, Photographer, and International Award-winning film composer. Jade dedicates herself to showcasing Vancouver's amazing talent.

6 Reconnect 2023 Contents
statement: Reconnect
Published by Glacier Media Group ultimate 2023 Vancouver Pride playlist ................................20 Harm Reduction ..........................24 Pride. Take. Over. ........................ 33 Ten alcohol-free beverages to celebrate Pride 38
Directors .......................10 Theme
....10 The
#Reconnect 2023
Pride event schedule..............26
Davie St. Lounge ..........32 Pride Parade map ...................34 VanPrideFest map ..................35 Community event listings ......64
Plan your Pride with our event listings:
first ....................14 Parade and festival accessibility............................15 The fight for accessible Pride........................................16 Here. IndigiQueer. And ready to dance...........................................42 Mandarin oranges .......................46 Banned.........................................50 Small town girl 54 Queer your summer reading 58 Pride cause campaigns 62 Our Partners ................................66
Accessible Pride
Photo by Nila Sivatheesan
1.888.383.4884 princeofwhales.com

Indigenous Welcomes

si: e n si:y y i ce:p k tx il m i t a x m θk ma ɬ t m x , t x a ts t sh mi q n i w t x al q a t sq am x i t s lilw ta ɬ m stey x s e ct w iy tal

Honoured friends and relatives:

Welcome to the ancestral and unceded territory of the h mi -speaking Musqueam peoples, which we share with our relatives from Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh. We are overjoyed to finally be able to join you in-person again for the 45th Annual Vancouver Pride Parade. Together with the Vancouver Pride Society, we take this weekend to celebrate and honour our respected two-spirit community members and LGBTQIA+ friends and allies.

hay ce:p to the volunteers, staff, and many others for their hard work to organize this important weekend of celebrating pride and love throughout our territory.

x m θk m Musqueam Indian Band

(From 2022 Pride Magazine.)


Ta N wyap, S iyam Ta N wyap S iyam

(To Friends and Respected Leaders)

Chet wa ’ay chtni-t miyap

(We raise our hands, in thanks to you all)

Yewan ha7lh s w lwen-chet kwis tl’a7 shen-chet

(We are really happy to celebrate with you all)

Nch’ 7mut kwi s w lwen-chet

(All of our hearts are one)


On behalf of the Squamish Nation Community, we unite with all two spirited people to embrace and celebrate Vancouver Pride 2023!

Nch’ 7mut-One Love S w w 7mesh xwumixw Squamish Nation

Welcome to the unceded, traditional territory of the s lilw taɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), x m θk m (Musqueam), and S w w 7mesh (Squamish) peoples for Vancouver Pride 2023! We have good feelings in our hearts to join this year’s festival and uplift our TwoSpirit, Indigiqueer, and LGBTQIA+ relatives and friends.

We are proud of our vibrant Tsleil-Waututh Nation community and our rich culture; our vision includes living in harmony, inspiring collaboration and unity. As "People of the Inlet", we remain dedicated to protecting and restoring the health of the lands and waters of our traditional territory surrounding Burrard Inlet.

We join our relatives in raising our hands with gratitude to all those involved in making this event possible. We hope you enjoy your time on our beautiful, shared traditional territory.

s lilw taɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation)

Vancouver Pride Society exists on the stolen, occupied, traditional and ancestral territory of the xwm θkw m (Musqueam), S w w 7mesh (Squamish), and s ilw ta ɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples. We are grateful to the Indigenous peoples of these nations who have cared for these lands since time immemorial.

We recognize that homophobia and transphobia were brought here through colonization and that the fight against these forms of oppression requires real action; action beyond the performative nature of statements like this. Learn about our commitments at vancouverpride.ca/territorial-acknowledgement

8 Reconnect 2023
Reconnect 2023 9 604-419-8888 gulfandfraser.com Let's talk. Be proud, embrace community, and power your possible. CELEBRATING PRIDE 2023! PRESIDENT Karen Ranalletta SECRETARY-TREASURER Trevor Davies CUPE is a proud advocate for 2SLGBTQI+ rights and to fight against discrimination and hate in our workplaces and in our communities. CUPE BC VanPride half page ad June 2023_FINAL.indd 1 2023-06-13 12:59 PM

A message from the Board of Directors

Coming together to celebrate Pride in Vancouver is something we are so incredibly fortunate to do. As our communities gather to reconnect this year, it is an opportunity to reflect on our story of Pride. We are reminded that it is not just a festival of love, acceptance, and self-expression; it is a powerful reminder of the journey we have undertaken to reclaim our identities and find strength in our truth.

Pride represents a mosaic of history, resilience, and hope. It is a tribute to the racialized queer and trans communities who paved the way for our rights and liberation. As a Pride Society and community, we owe a debt of gratitude to those who fought for our ability to celebrate and live openly, authentically, and without fear. Even in our progress, we are reminded of the challenges that remain. Safety is an ongoing concern for queer individuals around the world. Pride, therefore, becomes a symbol of solidarity and a platform to demand the protection and respect we deserve. It is a call to action, urging us to fight against the discrimination, violence, and prejudice that still persist.

In reconnecting with our community, and with each other, during Pride this year, let us rediscover the power within ourselves. It is a time to honour our unique experiences, to heal from the scars of the past, and to acknowledge the incredible strength we possess as individuals and as a collective. Pride encourages us to embrace our true selves unapologetically. Pride reminds us that our stories are diverse and beautiful; worthy of celebration and recognition. On behalf of the entire board and staff of VPS, let us reconnect with the essence

VPS board members from left to right: Michelle Fortin, Abdollah Fooladkhai, Dylan Robinson, Tabitha McIntyre.

of joy, love, and unity. It is a time to dance, sing, laugh, and revel in the richness of our Vancouver communities. By embracing our identities and celebrating our differences, we inspire others to do the same, forging a path towards a more inclusive and accepting world. Together, we will make a difference and create a future where everyone can be proud of who they are, free from prejudice and fear. ●

In solidarity, Justin Khan and Michelle Fortin Vancouver Pride Society Co-Chairs



Last year’s festival brought our communities together after years of being disconnected. In 2023, the Vancouver Pride Society invites all Two Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Asexual, Intersex folks and their allies to Reconnect at this summer’s Vancouver Pride Festival and Parade.

Reconnect symbolizes Vancouver Pride Society’s ongoing commitment to amplify the voices of Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, and racialized communities. This year's Pride season will be an opportunity to Reconnect to our history, physical spaces and each other.

The organization will continue to Reconnect Pride to local grassroots

organizers and 2SLGBTQAI+ groups, focusing on community care and relearning how to navigate life with empathy.

Reconnect is a celebration of

meaningful, sustainable, and vital relations between Vancouver Pride and the city’s unsung queer-serving communities.

10 Reconnect 2023



Reconnect 2023 11 LOVEisLOVE PETERJULIAN MP New Westminster—Burnaby 110-888CarnarvonStreet, NewWestminster,V3M0C6
BONITAZARRILLO MP Port Moody—Coquitlam JAGMEETSINGH MP Burnaby South JENNYKWAN MP Vancouver East DONDAVIES MP Vancouver Kingsway 4940Kingsway, Burnaby,BCV5H2E2 (604)291-8863
2572EastHastings, Vancouver,BCV5K1Z3 (604)775-5800
2951Kingsway, Vancouver,BCV5R5J4 (604)775-6263
1116AustinAvenue, Coquitlam,BC.V3K3P5
13 DavieVillageBakery @davievillagebakery 604-683-2911 1216Daviest,Vancouver AuthenticEuropeanbakeryin heartofDavieVillage EuropeanDelion DavieStreet @vaneurodeli 604-688-3442 1220Daviest,Vancouver Knownfor"Vancouver'sBest Hummus"

Accessibility First

Vancouver Pride is back in a completely new way this year thanks to an amazing staff team who is determined to make a difference. Their dedication and care are evident in all of the programming and features we have added to our new event sites. Thank you to our whole staff team for making this happen!

—The Vancouver Pride Staff Team


Co-Executive Director: Allison Dunne

Co-Executive Director: Madison Holding

Events Manager: Zac Remple

Communications Manager:

Fábio de Miranda

Community Engagement Manager: Joseph Hoang

In 2019, Vancouver Pride Society embarked on a process that began around tables in community centre rooms and led to monumental changes in the history of Vancouver’s Annual Pride Parade and Festival: the rerouting of the Parade and relocation of the Pride Festival.

While significant, the move itself was not as profound as the reason underlying it: deciding to walk the talk on VPS’s stated values and get real about respecting, celebrating, and honouring all members of our communities—especially those who often get left out of the discussion, like disabled queers.

“Vancouver Pride Society has been ignoring the needs of disabled people for too long,” explains Vancouver Pride Society Co-Executive Director, Madison Holding. “Coming out of the pandemic, and with changes to city infrastructure, the festival was even less accessible than previous years. These changes have been long overdue.”

From festival details like increased access to shade, seating, and water, to enhanced accessibility on the web, to the addition of extra accessible parade and festival viewing zones, the last several years has seen accessibility placed at the forefront of planning rather than as an afterthought. And accessibility isn’t just for event attendees—investing in video

conferencing equipment has enabled hybrid working models with flexible hours and online volunteer training.

“Accessibility is important at Pride because it is important for everyone to be included and feel safe,” explains Amar Mangat, Accessibility Coordinator. “To be equal, to be accessible, and to feel included, I believe this is the way to celebrate Pride together and reconnect.”

If more water, shade, and seating sound like something we would all enjoy...that’s the point! Accessibility benefits all of us, whether we are disabled or temporarily able bodied. The alternative means that only some of us belong at Pride: those whose access needs have already been met.

“It’s inspiring that Vancouver Pride has come out and admitted to not being accessible,” says Harmony Bongat, a queer, disabled, person of colour who has been volunteering, attending, and marching in Pride since 2001. “It’s really groundbreaking that such a large scale event has centred accessibility!”

“We are trying to rebuild and create relationships with the communities VPS has been neglecting,” shares Madison. “By moving accessibility to the forefront, we are hoping to create a safer, more inclusive space for everyone to enjoy.”

Between multiple community consultations, audits, and community roundtables,

Exhibitor Services Coordinator: Josephine Gray

Sponsorships Coordinator: Glenn Stensrud

Talent Coordinator: Jade Weekes

Content Specialist: Ivy Edad

Operations Coordinator: Marium Zaki

Community Partnerships Coordinator: Jay Legaspi

Volunteer Coordinator: Bianca Santana

Event Coordinator: Benjamin Bastillo

New Media Graphic Designer: Bronté Tolentino

Accessibility Coordinator: Amar Mangat

Event Coordinator: Adam Doucette

With special thanks to our contractors: Eduardo Ottoni, James Ong, and Andrea Arnot!

VPS is putting in the work to repair those relationships.

Harmony, who helped organize some of the audits, believes it is beginning to work. “For the first time, I think ever, I feel seen by a Pride organization as a disabled person of colour,” says Harmony. “Disabled people, people like me, belong at Pride, and it feels really great to not be overlooked.” ●

14 Reconnect 2023
Vancouver Pride Society staff

Parade and Festival Accessibility

Find current and updated information at vancouverpride.ca/accessibility. Contact our Accessibility Coordinator with any questions at accessibility@vancouverpride.ca.

Bubly Davie Street Lounge

Friday, July 28 to Sunday, August 6

1207 Bute St. (Davie and Bute)

Page 32

• ASL Interpretation

• Umbrellas and trees provide shaded seating

• Designated tables distanced from the bar and speakers. Earplugs available by request

• Stim toys available at the check-in table by request

• Flat paved surface with 4 ft aisle

• Braille menu available at bar


Saturday, August 5 to Sunday, August 6 Concord Pacific Place

Page 35

The majority of the event is on a flat, paved surface. Areas on grass have access ramps and/or temporary flooring for mobility devices.

Various seating options with shade are available throughout the site.

Wayfinding signage displayed throughout the site.


VanPrideFest features accessible viewing areas at the Main Stage and Community Stage. The Main Stage includes a raised platform with ramp access and view of the stage. The Community Stage is situated on the grass. Both spaces offer the following:

• Shade tents

• Mixed seating (chairs with and without arms, chairs with soft seats)

• Accessible portapotty

• ASL Interpretation

• Stim Toys

• Masks available upon request


Presented in collaboration with LETS (Live Educate Transform Society) and CAN (Canucks Autism Network)

Dedicated low sensory zone in Zone 2 of Van Pride Fest (Map page 35) on a raised

grassy area. Stim toys available.


Gender neutral portable washrooms available throughout the site. The unit door width is 31.7” (830mm) and the seat height is 19’ (521 mm). Accessible seating areas have dedicated accessible portapotties.

Vancouver Pride Parade

Sunday, August 6

Davie x Denman

Page 34


There are four accessible viewing zones along the Parade route.

Accessible Viewing Zones:

• Shade Tents

• Mixed seating (chairs with and without arms, chairs with soft seats)

• Situated close to First Aid

• Stim toys

• Masks available upon request

ASL Accessible Viewing Zone

Pacific Boulevard after Smithe Street

• ASL interpretation of Pride Parade host

• Accessible portapotty

VocalEye Accessible Viewing Zone

Pacific Boulevard after Smithe Street

• VocalEYE Audio Live Description of Parade

• Accessible portapotty

Seniors Accessible Viewing Zone

Outside Roundhouse Community Centre at Pacific Boulevard and Davie Street

• Access to accessible washroom facilities at Roundhouse Community Centre

Accessible Viewing Zone

North Side of Beach Avenue at Burnaby Street above the Bath House

• Accessible portapotty


Accessible viewing zones are situated on wide, flat, paved areas. The majority of the sidewalks along the Parade route are wide enough to accommodate multiple rows of people and mobility devices, particularly around the Yaletown district. Some sidewalks are cracked.


Low sensory space available inside Roundhouse Community Centre in Room B on ground floor. Water fountains, air conditioning, and toilet facilities.


Various seating options available:

• North side of Beach Avenue at Burnaby Street

• Roundhouse Community Center at Pacific Boulevard and Davie Street

• Pacific Boulevard after Smithe Street ●

Reconnect 2023 15
Chronically Queer in the 2019 Vancouver Pride Parade.

The Fight for Accessible Pride

Queer disability activists on how accessibility makes Pride better for everyone

Vancouver Pride will look a little different for everyone this year. For the first time since 1978, this year's parade and festival are expanding beyond their West End roots. For disabled members of the 2SLGBTQAI+ community, the move marks more than just a change of scenery.

Heather McCain, founder and executive director of the queer disability justice group Live Educate Transform Society (LETS), explains that the new parade route means that some disabled folks who were unable to access Pride before can now attend for the first time in years.

“We have heard from a lot of our members that they can be queer in queer spaces but not disabled, and they can be disabled in disabled spaces but not queer,” McCain says. “We want to help support Vancouver Pride Society in creating an event where [queer disabled folks] can bring all their parts and not have to divide themselves.

McCain points out that accessibility at Pride events has historically focused on disabled folks as spectators rather than participants—but having a disability shouldn’t have to change how you participate in Pride. “[Pride is] that chance to be who they are, be free and be with others they love. And so it, in itself, is accessibility personified, because it allows people to really celebrate who they are.”

Experiencing the benefits of accessibility isn’t limited to those who identify as disabled. “That's the thing about accessibility, people tend to think it's only for disabled people, but it's for anybody that's attending,” McCain says. “There's a lot of people who don't consider themselves disabled, even though they can't walk up stairs or have mobility difficulties … it'll also help people without disabilities as well, such as the vendors.”

Still, McCain says there was some pushback to the new route due to a mis-

conception that not enough people would benefit from it. “There is a perception that there's not a lot of disabled people within the queer community. But that's often because people don't understand what the broad spectrum of disability looks like … and a lot of queer spaces haven't been accessible up until now.”

Like other social justice movements, disability and accessibility need to be addressed intersectionally. In Canada, 1 in 5 people over age 15 report at least one disability, with higher rates among Indigenous people at nearly 1 in 3. And while there is limited Canadian research available, in the U.S. the Human Rights Campaign found that 2SLGBTQAI+ adults are significantly more likely than their cis-het peers to self-report at least one disability.

Rabbit Richards, a queercrip poet and organizer, agrees that it’s important for queer spaces especially to address accessibility because experiences of queerness and disability are so intertwined.

“Many of the issues that are prevalent amongst queer community are disabling,” they say. “If you're having an interaction with the cops, if you've been to a march and you've been tear-gassed, if you are experiencing queerphobic or transphobic medicine. Already most of us are playing with one or several disabilities.”

To Richards, accessibility is about addressing the systemic inequalities that disproportionately affect disabled bodies. “Disabilities are not actually about whatever your illness is, it's about what society chooses to find unacceptable, or needing to be hidden,” they say. “What makes you disabled is not the problem that you have, it's how much access you get.”

Making Pride accessible doesn’t end with the new route or with the efforts of the VPS and advocates like McCain and Richards. It requires what Richard calls “a concerted community effort.”

“Everyone wants to go back to Pride as a riot, right? Everybody wants to act like this is bigger than the party. But if you're not actually doing anything radical within your community, then it is just a party.”

McCain is hopeful that Vancouver Pride’s accessibility improvements will inspire other cities to follow suit but echoes that the work is far from over.

“It's repeated that disabled people are supposed to be like non-disabled people. And we're at a time now when disabled people are saying, ‘No,’’' says McCain. “Instead of us always having to make the accommodations for other people, it's time that everybody looks at how we can act more accessibly.” ●

PHOEBE FULLER (she/her) is a journalist and graduate student at the UBC School of Journalism. Her words have appeared in Xtra Magazine and the Georgia Straight among others, where she likes writing about queer identities, labour issues, and her latest pop culture obsession.

16 Reconnect 2023
K Ho photo

Celebrate Pride at Parq




Arts Club Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Ashlie Corcoran says the company’s 2023–2024 lineup of shows was thoughtfully curated to ensure its diamond anniversary season is one of purpose.

“The Arts Club has a history—and a future—of never being content with the status quo and of always striving forward from its founding to today,” says Corcoran.

With that in mind, Corcoran adds one of the highlights of the upcoming season is the production of Choir Boy, a co-production with Canadian Stage of the Tony Award–nominated, coming-of-age story from Tarell Alvin McCraney. The storyline follows Pharus, a senior at the Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys—and the proud leader of its legendary gospel choir—as he learns to accept his identity as a young gay Black man.

“As we approach our 60 years of existence, our goal is for each show to deepen our commitment to artists in our province, highlight conscious eclecticism, aim for the highest levels of artistic excellence, and reflect our community’s diversity,” says Corcoran.

Arts Club Executive Director Peter Cathie White adds that same commitment will continue long into the future.

“Over the next 60 years, we will continue to support the development of local theatrical voices while also strengthening the Arts Club’s reputation as a nationally renowned theatre company that deeply and richly engages with its community,” says Cathie White.

The Arts Club 2023–2024 season launches in September with shows at three venues; the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, the Granville Island Stage, and the Newmont Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre.

Besides Choir Boy and Little Shop of Horrors, a co-production with the Citadel Theatre, the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, the company’s flagship venue, will also host Elf: The Musical, a gleeful holiday present based on the beloved film; Red Velvet, the true story of Ira Aldridge, the first Black actor to play Othello in London; and the romantic musical comedy Guys & Dolls

The Arts Club’s longtime waterfront home, the Granville Island Stage, will see the return of the hugely popular Mom’s the Word: Talkin’ Turkey in December, followed by the hilarious Father Tartuffe: An Indigenous Misadventure, co-produced with Touchstone Theatre; Sexy Laundry, a touching romantic comedy about rediscovering love by Vancouver playwright Michele Riml; and Ring of Fire, Johnny Cash’s remarkable life story told through his music.

In addition, Corcoran announced three shows programmed for the Newmont Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre. The world premiere of Someone Like You, a millennial take on Cyrano de Bergerac by Vancouver-based playwright Christine Quintana, will open the season at the company’s Olympic Village venue. Every

Brilliant Thing, an immersive exploration into the small joys of being human; and the Canadian premiere of Cambodian Rock Band, the captivating play about the power of music and the resiliency of family, which were both postponed due to the pandemic, will follow.

In honour of its 60th anniversary, the Arts Club also announced six Silver Commissions, an unprecedented initiative in support of new theatre works, with titles to be announced.

Cathie White notes that with its new and future programming and initiatives, the Arts Club will continue its commitment as a leading contributor to Vancouver’s arts scene.

“With artistic visioning, organizational readiness, and financial stability working hand-in-hand, the Arts Club’s position as the principal gathering place for participation in the arts in Vancouver—for audiences, artists, and the community at large—will continue to flourish,” says Cathie White.

Subscription packages are available now at artsclub.com or by calling 604.687.1644.The five-show Stanley Series, the Arts Club’s most popular subscription, starts at just $132.

18 Reconnect 2023
| Sponsored content
The company’s 2023–2024 season kicks off in September with musical comedy Little Shop of Horrors
David Andrew Reid, Kwaku Okyere, Andrew Broderick, Clarence ‘CJ’ Jura, and Savion Roach in Choir Boy, 2022: set and costume design by Rachel Forbes; lighting design by Sophie Tang; photo by Dahlia Katz for Canadian Stage



The ultimate 2023 Vancouver Pride playlist

Get ready to celebrate with these 10 bops

If there’s one thing the 2SLGBTQAI+ community can agree on, it’s that music is as important as the air we breathe. It’s there to cheer us up when we’re down, provide a soundtrack for our theatrics, and, most of all, put us in the mood…to celebrate!

And what better occasion to celebrate than Pride?

To help prepare you for a day of dancing, laughing, and emphatically loving, here are 10 must-have tracks for your 2023 Pride playlist.


Donna Summer

A Pride playlist would be incomplete without a quintessential disco hit—and who better to turn to than the iconic disco legend herself, Donna Summer. If you’re looking for a song that will automatically have lights beaming, people twirling, and joy radiating, this is the transformative classic you need.


Tayla Parx

Tayla Parx is Grammy-nominated artist known for her work as a contributing songwriter for the likes of Ariana Grande, Janelle Monae, Megan Thee Stallion, and more. In “For What It’s Worth,” the bisexual superstar is front and center with this funky, fun, and incredibly fresh tune.



You heard Lizzo: Everybody’s gay!



Nelly Furtado, Dom Dolla

Canadian royalty Nelly Furtado is back and better than ever with “Eat Your Man” (a collaboration with Dom Dolla). From “Maneater” to “Eat Your Man,” one thing Nelly Furtado’s going to do is eat.



Troye Sivan, PNAU

From gay darling Troye Sivan and Australian DJ PNAU comes this feel-good, summer anthem that’s finally seeing its day in the sun after a winter release. We know exactly what you need: this song in your life.


Kylie Minogue

OK, you know we had to include this new track by Kylie Minogue on this list. Props to Kylie for once again serving hits for the girls, gays, theys, and everyone in between. (Also, am I the only one who thought it was pronounced like “madam”?)

7 LSD PT. 2

Michael Medrano, Funk Leblanc

Have you been looking for a bisexual icon with a killer mustache and disco-daddy aesthetic?

Michael Medrano is your guy! The best way to describe “LSD Pt. 2” is that it sounds like Daft Punk on poppers. Trust me, you have to hear it yourself.

20 Reconnect 2023


Dua Lipa

Dua Lipa is no stranger to dropping iconic pop tunes, and this number from the Barbie movie is Dua at her absolute best. There’s one thing for sure: when this song comes on, this Barbie is ready to party.


Shea Couleé

Drag superstar Shea Couleé dropped their debut album, 8, earlier this year—an appropriate album name given the way Shea absolutely chewed with these songs. Drag Race fans may recognize this track from Shea’s winning variety show number during her iconic run on RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars 7—and trust us, Shea won that challenge for a reason.



Rounding out this list is none other than Mrs. Carter herself, who, despite dropping RENAISSANCE last summer, is still bringing heat to mixes everywhere. Incorporating lingo from ballroom culture, “HEATED” masterfully encapsulates this award-winning album’s sound and soul—a true love letter to the community. Shoutout to Uncle Johnny! ●


BELLO (he/ him/his) is a gay FilipinoCanadian based in Vancouver, BC who has worked as a copywriter, copy editor, freelance writer, and brand journalist. While his writing experience ranges from interior design tips to video game guides, his heart remains in producing content about 2SLGBTQAI+ experiences. In fact, he won a national award in journalism for an article about Vancouver’s housing crisis impacting queer dating/ hook-up culture. It remains his most notorious (and unnervingly real) piece to date. When not writing, you can find Juztin perusing vintage clothing stores, reading in the sun, or hanging with his friends (with a camcorder in hand, of course).

Reconnect 2023 21


Get your second dose of the Mpox vaccine in time for pride season. checkhimout.ca/Mpox


Support HIM this Pride season by becoming a monthly donor for $10/month

PnP & Me is a drop-in group counselling program to support you in identifying and achieving your goals related to sexualized substance use (party and play). This mental health group is facilitated by a clinical counsellor and will offer resources and guided group discussions among peers in a supportive and non-judgmental space.

Every Thursday 6:30pm - 8:00pm

The Royal HIM on Davie 1033 Davie St.


Reconnect 2023 23

Harm Reduction

From sun protection to safer substance use, Harm Reduction is all of our responsibility. Make a plan, watch out for one another, and check out community resources!


✔ Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, hand fan

✔ High fidelity ear plugs

✔ Snacks, electrolytes, water bottle

✔ Dental dams, condoms, gloves, lube

✔ Trip home planned before party time

✔ Bus, cab, or rideshare fare (even if you had a planned designated driver)

✔ Cut straws, spoons, glass pipes, or needles—bring extra for friends but don’t swap supplies

✔ Mask and hand sani

✔ Narcan

✔ Comfortable shoes or pack flats

✔ Substance use planned

✔ Substances obtained and tested



Don’t use alone, buddy up. Start low, and go slow. Consent is for more than just sex! Hugs, handjobs, and everything between and beyond needs a consent check.

Check in with your friends to make sure they are playing safe and feeling comfortable

Make sure your friends have a safe way home especially if they changed their plans near the end of the night. Get contact details and ask for a check-in if they are going home with a new cutie. See someone looking uncomfortable, unsafe, or unwell? Check in with them and see if they need help.

Visit towardtheheart.com to learn how to respond to an overdose, where you can pick up free narcan, and where to receive narcan training

Attend St. John Ambulance’s free Nasal Naloxone training at Creekside Park on August 6th.


All VPS staff carry narcan and are trained in using it Find Good Night Out Vancouver roaming VanPrideFest and VVJ


Drug checking, safe drug usage kits, HIV rapid test at Jim Deva Plaza by Health Initiative for Men (August 4, 7-10pm). More dates and locations available at checkhimout.ca

Get your Monkey Pox vaccine at the HIM booth at VanPrideFest on August 6.

HIV self-testing kits available at Community Based Research Center’s booth at VanPrideFest

Water refill stations throughout VanPrideFest. See Map page 35.

St. John Ambulance and Odyssey Medical on site at VanPrideFest, and along Parade route. See Parade Route Map page 34.


Plan your drug use and gather what you need while sober to avoid risky impulse decisions later. Drop a small sample off with getyourdrugstested.com (880 E Hastings St.) daily, 12-8 pm, or HIM (1033 Davie St.). Plan ahead! You may not get same day results if you arrive near closing. Check drug interactions at combo.tripsit.me

Learn about party drugs at checkhimout.com/highlife

Get checked for STIs without visiting a doctor at getcheckedonline.com

24 Reconnect 2023
DID YOU KNOW Heat related illnesses are the most common issue treated by first aid at Pride events


With a new Parade Route, two-day VanPrideFest, and curated Takeover Events and Stages, the 2023 Vancouver Pride Festival brings a jam-packed lineup of events taking place around the city. See page 15 for accessibility information.

See event schedule and purchase tickets at vancouverpride.ca/tickets


Friday, July 14, 3 p.m. Online

Shetin Adams, Siobhan Barker, Joey Laguio, and Jag Nagra share their queer lived experience with mental health in this online panel moderated by jaye simpson.


Sunday, July 23, 9 a.m.

Ceperley Park in Stanley Park vancouverpriderun.ca

You are invited to join us for a day of running or walking, pride, and fun in Stanley Park with the Vancouver Frontrunners. This year's Pride Run & Walk features two new courses, start line timing, our famous disco water stations, snacks, entertainment, prizes, and so much more!


Tuesday, July 25, 7:05 p.m.

Nat Bailey Stadium, 4601 Ontario St. $20

Watch Vancouver Canadians’ Pride Baseball Game! Use code Pride23. $3 from every ticket supports the Vancouver Pride Society.


Friday, July 28 to Sunday, August 6 Bute and Davie (1207 Bute St.)

Experience the transformative power of community organizing at Bubly Davie Street Lounge. See Bubly Davie Street Lounge Schedule on page 32 for full details.


Friday, July 28 to Sunday, July 30

Bute and Davie (1207 Bute St.)

Reconnect at three dazzling days of 2SLGBTQAI+ celebration at Pride Premiere. See Bubly Davie Street Lounge Schedule on page 32 for full details.


Friday, July 28, 6 to 11 p.m. Parq Vancouver, 39 Smithe St. $20. All Ages with Guardian. $60 VIP: Ball + Afterparty + VIP runway seating.

DO NOT touch the artwork, but do feast your eyes on the finest and highly curated ART that BALLROOM has to offer. Van Vogue Jam in partnership with VPS presents a night of ballroom, a series of competitive categories birthed in NYC by communities of Queer, Black, and Latinex people. Minors may attend with guardian: e-mail guardian info to info@vanvoguejam.com two days before the ball.

26 Reconnect 2023
Katrina Dymphna photo Ale Fragoso photo
Reconnect 2023 Love Love is stanleyparkpavilion.com 610 Pipeline Road, Stanley Park, Vancouver
Photo courtesy of Justin Ho Photography


Friday, July 28, 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. D6 at Parq Vancouver, 39 Smithe St. $20. 19+.

Keep the party going in the luxurious D6 lounge for an evening of fab beats, drinks, and moves to wrap up a fabulous night.


Monday, July 31, 12 to 12:30 p.m. City Hall, Livestream to VPS Facebook

Witness the annual reading of the Pride Proclamation from the City of Vancouver, a welcome from our Host Nations, and the introduction of this year’s Grand Marshals!


Monday, July 31

Malkin Bowl, Stanley Park

Enjoy the uproariously funny, yet tender-hearted, Broadway smash hit The Prom, with hilarious hijinks, infectious soundtrack, and uplifting narrative. Visit the photobooth for fabulous photos! All seat cushion and programme donations will be matched by TUTS in support of VPS.


Nightly: Monday, July 31 to Friday, August 4, 5 to 6 p.m.

Calling all drag stans! Meet our street team along with your favourite local drag performers to test your knowledge and win some swag! Watch VPS socials to find out where you and your besties can find us each day.


Tuesday, August 1, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Vancouver Art Gallery North Plaza

Celebrate with a fitness fundraiser featuring performances by Canada's Drag Race star Kendall Gender with Bibi SouPhresh, Tiffany Ann Co., and Venus! Take by-donation, beginner-friendly cardio sessions, with 100% of proceeds benefiting the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society.


Wednesday, August 2, 1 to 4 p.m. Barclay Manor, 1447 Barclay St.

Join us for for an afternoon of celebrating, championing, and uplifting older 2SLGBTQAI+ adults and allies. Presented in collaboration with QMUNITY, West End Seniors Network, Vancouver Pride Society, Gordon House, Saige Community Food Bank, and Vancouver Friends for Life.


Saturday, August 5, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Bute and Davie (1207 Bute St.)

Enjoy a by-donation pancake breakfast in honour of Terry Wallace. In years of finan-

cial uncertainty, Terry Wallace funded and sustained the Pride Parade through the Castle Pub’s 50/50 and pull-tab machines. This event is made possible by Your Independent Grocer on Davie Street who will be cooking up a fabulous breakfast.


Saturday, August 5, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. McSpadden Park to Grandview Park

Begin in McSpadden Park at 11 a.m. for a community art project, then take to the streets and march down Commercial Drive at noon. Enjoy local performers, community vendors, and food trucks for an afternoon of queer magic, trans empowerment, non-binary respect, and lots of dyke-y love!


Saturday, August 5, 12 to 7 p.m. Concord Pacific Place

#Reconnect at VanPrideFest, a two-day outdoor festival. Headlined by Coco & Breezy and Madison Rose, Saturday’s TD Mainstage is curated by Haus of Bukuru & RiceCake. Explore the Vendor Market and take a break in the Low Sensory Zone! See page 35 for VanPrideFest map.

28 Reconnect 2023
Simon Havenhand photo Ale Fragoso photo
Reconnect 2023 29 PROUD SUPPORTER OF PRIDE VANCOUVER Erectile Dysfunction Treatment T-Optimizer Testosterone Replacement Therapy Non-Surgical Penile Enlargement Peyronie’s Disease Treatment Premature And Delayed Ejaculation Treatment No-Scalpel No-Needle Vasectomy Circumcision For All Ages PRP Hair Restoration Therapy - For Women & Men pollockclinics.com 604-717-6200 OUR TREATMENTS INCLUDE: WHY CHOOSE POLLOCK CLINICS?
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Saturday, August 5, 9 pm to 3 am The Pearl, 881 Granville St. 19+. $20-$35. PWYC tix for BIPOC.

Vancouver Pride’s official afterparty on Pride Saturday with resident @pevrt.mx, and @villasenordj from Mexico City. Throw down for a night of queer liberation and freedom of expression.


Sunday, August 6, 12 to 3 p.m. Davie x Denman

March for the first time along the new Pride Parade route starting in the West End. Spanning 3.1 km, the Parade will include 140 vibrant Parade entries, three host stations with lively commentary, and four accessible viewing zones. See page 34 for Parade Route Map.


Sunday, August 6, 12 to 7 p.m.

Concord Pacific Place & Creekside Park

Accessible Viewing Zone. ASL. Low Sensory Zone.

#Reconnect at VanPrideFest, a two-day outdoor festival. Headlined by Fefe Dobson, Sunday’s TD Mainstage is curated by NormieCorp. Enjoy a showcase of local talent on the Community Stage, explore the Vendor Market, and take a break in the Low Sensory Zone! See page 35 for VanPrideFest map.


Sunday, August 6, 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Enso Night Club

19 +

Let go of worldly inhibitions and descend with us to realms beyond the ordinary. Devote your entire being to the profound love for yourself and for each other as we gather to worship fast music. ●

30 Reconnect 2023
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Bye Felicia – Ursula Major


Van Vogue Jam – IYKYK (If Your Kunt Your Kunt)


The Fever – DRAG SHOW w/ POC local legends


VMF Public Disco Pride Special


Normie Corp - Come to Brazil


Blowpony x Bye Felicia x Age of Aquarius w/ Quarterback – T-Dance / Drag Dance Party


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Get Out & Celebrate Dilawri is geared up to support Vancouver Pride. PrintAd_Dilawri_0623_VanPride-02.indd 1 2023-06-22 4:46 PM


1207 Bute Street (Davie and Bute)

#Reconnect to community and experience the transformative power of collaboration at Bubly Davie St. Lounge, celebrating the work of organizers who create spaces for 2SLGBTQAI+ communities. Discover unique perspectives and talent in the heart of Davie Village. See page 15 for accessibility information.

All events are 19+ unless otherwise noted. Visit vancouverpride.ca/tickets for tickets.


Friday, July 28 to Sunday, July 30

#Reconnect and kick off Pride Week with three dazzling days of 2SLGBTQAI+ celebration at Pride Premiere @ Bubly Davie Street Lounge. Curated by community organizers, this event promises an unforgettable weekend of music, drag, and poetry.



4 to 10 p.m., $10

Vibe inspired by summer poolside hangs, Queers & Beers bring you disco energy, R&B, queer anthems, and throwbacks at this chill space designed for socializing, connecting, chatting with old friends, and making new ones.


10 p.m. to late

End the night with a Silent Disco by MangoSweet!



3 to 10 p.m., $10

Join us for an electrifying evening celebrating diverse QTBIPOC talent as DJ Softieshan curates a showcase that will amplify and uplift queer, trans, Black, Indigenous, and people of colour artists through a mesmerizing fusion of music, dance, and performance.


10 p.m. to late

End the night with a Silent Disco by MangoSweet!



1 to 5 p.m.

All Ages, Mature Subject Matter

Celebrate the vibrant creativity and diverse perspectives of The Haven, an empowering collective of talented trans artists, as they illuminate the stage with their captivating performances and redefine artistic expression.


5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

All Ages, Mature Subject Matter

Pay What You Can. Masks Required. Closeout Pride Premiere with a QTBIPOC-only poetry slam! Featuring KP Dennis and hosted by Fanny Kearse, signups for this poetry slam are only open to QTBIPOC poets. This event is a chance for queers to be in a covid-concious space this summer—masks required.



7 to 10 p.m., $15-$20

Come for the phenomenal pre-show music

and stay for the city’s funniest queer comedians with One Night Stand-Up presented by Comedy Here Often.



5 to 7 p.m., $15 (includes Virago Nation below)

Queer. Iconic. Sexy. Featuring ALL 6 jaw-dropping drag artists of the Non-Binary Super Group, Amy Grindhouse, PM, Mx Bukuru, Venus, Kara Juku, and Rogue in all their glory.


8 to 10 p.m., $15 (includes Enby6 above)

Celebrate the fabulous feeling of Indigenous queer joy with Virago Nation and their stage cuzzinz. Experience the liberation of de-colonial pride that embraces multifaceted gender and sexuality through burlesque and drag.



8 a.m. to 12 p.m., By Donation

Enjoy a by-donation pancake breakfast in honour of Terry Wallace. In years of financial uncertainty, Terry Wallace funded and sustained the Pride Parade through the Castle Pub’s 50/50 and pull-tab machines. This event is made possible by Your Independent Grocer on Davie Street who will be cooking up a fabulous breakfast.


5 p.m. to 12 a.m., $15

Black-Identified Audience Only

Celebrate Black, Queer Joy! Afroqueer

YVR is a Black Queer event for self-identifying queer Afrodiaspora, sharing music, art, dance, and culture representative of Black queer creativity worldwide. With an all Black line-up of DJs, dancers, vendors, security, and staff, AfroQueer is that facilitates Black connection, healing,

32 Reconnect 2023
Jade Weekes photo

celebration, and liberation, paying homage to Drag, Ballroom, Voguing, Dancehall, Afrobeats, Afrofunk, House, Drum and Bass, Hip Hop, and Caribbean sounds.



3 to 10 p.m., $15

Experience an unforgettable evening of fierce entertainment as drag artist extraordinaire Rogue hosts a dynamic and captivating showcase, bringing together a brilliant mix of seasoned veterans and rising stars in a celebration of talent, glamour, and the art of drag. ●


Queers & Beers. House of Rice. MangoSweet. LEVEL UP YVR. The Haven. Under the Table Poetry. Comedy Here Often? Enby6. Virago Nation. AfroQueer YVR. Rogue. Van Vogue Jam. Haus of Bukuru. RiceCake. NormieCorp. Drill Events.

Space curators, vibe facilitators, community creators: these beloved Vancouver organizers are taking over Vancouver Pride for a second year with music, performances, and parties not to be missed.

Debuted at Vancouver Pride 2022, Takeover Stages are a way of returning Pride to the community. “We want to include queer organizations in the planning of Pride, and give them autonomy over what programming they want to see and participate in,” explains Madison, Co-Executive Director of Vancouver Pride Society. “We are creating these events with the community, for the community.”

The concept is simple: Vancouver Pride provides resources, money, and space to queer organizers who have a finger on the pulse of the community. In return, these skilled creatives takeover stages and populate them with local talent, big name headliners, and emerging artists. Funding is directed back into the community, and diverse programming is

created for larger audiences—audiences Vancouver Pride has historically failed to reach.

“A lot of different event producers throughout the city are very good at creating events and serving parts of the community who have been left out or forgotten,” explains Vancouver Pride’s Event Manager, Zac Remple. “The Takeover Model allows these event producers to have space on Vancouver Pride’s stages, bringing what they do to a prominent stage.”

After a successful first year in 2022, the Takeover Model has expanded in 2023 with every stage, aside from VanPrideFest’s Community Stage, curated by a different queer organization, moving Pride programming beyond the usual music and drag (not that we don’t love music and drag!). From mask-required QTBIPOC poetry slams to all-Indigenous Burlesque to “pool party”-vibed disco kick-off parties to comedy shows and beyond, Takeover Stages don’t just broaden the talent on stage, they expand the horizon of what Pride can be.

What is Zac most looking forward to?

“We are going to have our first all Black party,” shares Zac. “I’m Black and queer. There is not a lot of space for us. It is great to have a party that is for us, and

by us.” Having spaces designed for and by people who are further marginalized within queer communities is important. “Black queer culture is its own culture,” explains Zac. “While we can go to other queer spaces, there are certain aspects of Black queerness that can’t be expressed in those spaces.”

AfroQueer YVR, on Saturday, August 5, is that space. With an all Black line-up of DJs, dancers, vendors, security, staff, and audience, AfroQueer facilitates Black connection, healing, celebration, and liberation. “It is so important to have a space that is dedicated to just this,” explains Zac. “And it is long overdue.” ●

Reconnect 2023 33
Katrina Dymphna photo Jade Weekes photo

EVENT MAPS Vancouver Pride Parade

Sunday, August 6 • 12pm-3pm

Parade hosts

Location 1 – Beach & Burnaby @

CRAFT Beer Market

Location 2 – Pacific & Howe @ Fresh St. Market

Location 3 – Pacific @ BC Place

Accessible viewing

More info on page 15

Beach near English Bay Bathhouse

Roundhouse Community Centre (Pacific Blvd)

BC Place – Vocal Eye & ASL

Bubly Davie Street Lounge

More info on page 32

Davie and Bute (1207 Bute St.)

Experience the transformative power of community organizing at Bubly Davie St. Lounge.



AlberniW.GeorgiaSt. St. ChilcoSt. GilfordSt.DenmanSt. CarderoSt.


BurnabySt. HarwoodSt.



Volunteer/Info Station

Parade Route

First Aid

NicolaSt.BroughtonSt. JervisSt.ButeSt. ThurlowSt.BurrardSt.

BeachAve. PacificSt.

NelsonBarclaySt. St. PendrellComoxSt. St. DavieSt. DavieSt.

Dispersal Zone


Host Station

Accessible Viewing Zone

Bubly Davie Street Lounge



Davie Street Lounge

HaroSt. NelsonSmitheSt. St. HelmckenSt.



YaletownRoundhouse Station

CambieSt. MainlandSt.

HamiltonSt. BeattySt.ExpoBlvd.


Water St. Abbott St. PacificBlvd.

StadiumChinatown Station

34 Reconnect 2023
? ?
? ? ?


Get ready for VanPrideFest, the ultimate celebration of reconnecting to our communities! On August 5th and 6th, Concord Pacific Place will be transformed into a two-day outdoor festival with DJs, Drag and more!

Day one will witness the spectacular takeover by the Haus of Bukuru, House of Rice and RiceCake, while day two will feature a sensational takeover by Normie Corp! Dance the night away to the incredible talent of our city’s incredible queer communities!

Reconnect 2023 35
Vancouver Pride Festival Site 2023 August 5, 1200-1900 August 6, 1200-1900 10’30’50’100’ 6ft fence 6ft fence, privacy mesh 4ft fence 4ft fence, blackVIP potty - accessible size potty - regular 10x20 emergency exit accesibility bike parking nolowsensory/ alcohol/CPpicnicsite (sun) 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 37 38 39 40 58 59 tentsshade20x30 w w 60 wristbanding 10x20 pop up EAST GATE Cartvending HotDogs 10x10 Lemon Heaven 10x10 PopUps) bikebreak bikebreak bikebreak bikebreak bike break (outside sciene world crosswalk) w handwashing - hot water handwashing - cold water only 36 Casa de Nata 10x10 tent + van KYU Grill 30ft 20x30 shade 10x20 shade 20’x20’ 20’x24’ 20’x30’ P 10’ Scale 0.1404 = 10’ 10’x10’ 10’x20’ 10’x25’ Pacific Blvd. ExpoBlvd. QuebecSt. Main Bar Stadium-Chinatown Station, 5 min. walk Evo & Accessible Parking Main Stage West Gate Entrance East Gate Entrance VIP Area Low-Sensory and Sober Zone Accessible Viewing Area Community Stage ? Main StScience World Station, 2 min. walk Legend Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 3 (August 6 only) Info Station Shade Provided Toilets Vendors Water Refills Accessible Viewing Area Bike Valet First Aid Food ? Vancouver Pride hosts these events as settlers on stolen lands. Thank you to our host nations, the xwm θkw m (Musqueam), S w w 7mesh (Squamish), and s ilw ta ɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples.
Saturday, August 5 & Sunday, August 6 • 12pm-7pm












36 Reconnect 2023

Ten alcohol-free beverages to celebrate Pride

Whether you’re hosting a gathering or attending a BYOB affair, this list has something for everybody. All of these are vegan and available at The Drive Canteen (1111 Commercial Drive) unless otherwise mentioned.


NOTE: Many non-alc or dealcoholized beverages contain trace amounts of alcohol, but usually less than 0.5% ABV (alcohol by volume). The familiarity of non-alc beer/wine combined with trace levels of alcohol present may be triggering for folks in recovery, so exercise caution.

Gruvi Juicy IPA

Prior to my shift away from alcohol, the trend of making IPAs that are so overwhelmingly hoppy they almost make your mouth turn inside-out completely missed me. I prefer a love-tap to a face-punch when it comes to hops so much to my delight, Gruvi’s Juicy IPA brings smoothness and a balance that helps me enjoy the nuances of the flavor palate. With bright tropical notes of pineapple and citrus, a hint of floral, and a present-and-proud hoppy finish, this is the perfect midday patio beer. Juicy IPA is a part of Gruvi’s discovery series, which means that you can scan a QR code on the can and give feedback to inform their next releases.

Pairs with: Baja-style fish tacos (for a plant-based version, use heart of palm).

Erdinger Alkoholfrei

This is a long time favorite of mine and I am happy to recommend it again and again. This Bavarian brewery has produced world-renowned wheat beers since 1886 and pride themselves on stewarding Bavaria’s cultural heritage through their craft. Introduced in 2001, Erdinger Alkoholfrei has been a market leader in the alcohol-free space, and for good reason—it’s delish. Bitter hops and malt with gentle sweet notes of spice and caramel and a full mouthfeel make this a true classic.

Pairs with: Grilled sausage and potatoes (for a plant-based version, use vegan sausage).

Edenvale Cabernet Sauvignon

Thanks to award-winning wineries like Edenvale, dealcoholized wine has come a long way. Edenvale’s sole focus is in the non-alcoholic space. Their patented alcohol-removal process removes and re-introduces the wine’s bouquet, allowing the finished product to retain much of its original character. Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic “big red”, and Edenvale’s offering is characterized by aromas of cassis, blackberry, cedar, and blueberry. Although distinct from a traditional Cab, if you’re looking for a full-bodied, juicy “fruit bomb” wine, this one is it.

Pairs with: BBQ Burgers (for plant-based, try a marinated and grilled portobello mushroom cap patty).

Oddbird Rosé

I can’t stop gushing about Oddbird Sparkling Rosé… you could even say I experience it through “rosé-coloured glasses." A blend of Syrah and Chardonnay from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France, it is characterized by a gently rosy hue and notes of apple, citrus and summer berries. In a champagne flute as-is, excellent with mimosas or sparkling cocktails, this perfectly pink sparkling wine is “liberated from alcohol” so you can start with brunch and enjoy all the way through dinner without getting sloppy. In other words, rosé all day… and still slay.

Pairs with: fresh fruit and cheese platter (for plant-based, try almond and cashew cheeses).

BSA White

BSA is a Quebec-based company whose name cuts right to the chase. BSA stands for Bière Sans Alcool or, in English, Beer Without Alcohol. But don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the name and branding; these beers defy expectation and have truly made their mark in the non-alc space. Their Belgian-style wheat ale, simply named “White,” features aromas of orange, cardamom, and light bitterness. According to their website, “a top quality white beer for top-quality times.” How succinct. I’m inclined to agree.

Pairs with: Dim sum dumplings, grilled asparagus with lemon butter and fresh tarragon.

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Proxies Blanc Slate

I wasn’t sure which category this belongs in because this critically acclaimed beverage walks between worlds. Don’t be fooled by the bottle—this is not a wine, doesn’t taste like one and isn’t meant to resemble one but, like a wine, it was created for food pairing. Blanc Slate layers sauvignon blanc grapes, grapefruit and kiwi with white tea and a unique blend of spices and herbs. With hints of stonefruit and lemon on the nose, off-dry and zesty on the palate and finished with just a hint of heat, this is an excellent choice to serve at a dinner party or to offer as a host gift.

Pairs with: Grilled prawns or Mediterranean-style veggie kebabs.


Conversations about the benefits of mushrooms seem to be popping up everywhere these days; on dinner plates, in medicine cabinets, and now in cocktails. As a non-alc passionate and a mushroom evangelist, I approve. Solbrü was founded by athlete and entrepreneur, Leanne Kisil, as a part of her own healing journey away from alcohol. With names like Focus+Inspire, Elevate+Perform, Relax+Restore, and Balance+Connect, these “spirits'' combine botanical extracts with adaptogenic mushrooms to help manage stress, aid the immune system, and support brain function. Enjoy over ice as an aperitif, with soda, or in iced tea with a squeeze of citrus.

PRIDE BONUS: As an LGBTQ-founded local company, Solbrü is offering 20% off online purchases at solbru.com through July and August with code SOLVANPRIDE.


1642 Elderflower Tonic

Gin and tonic is a classic summer highball that is only as good as its ingredients. While some focus on seeking out the perfect gin, a well-crafted tonic stands on its own. Montreal-based producer 1642 boasts a catalogue of premium, expertly-crafted mixers including flavours like grapefruit, cucumber, yuzu, and gingerbeer; of all the offerings, elderflower is easily my favourite—I let out an audible “wow!” after my first sip. This is perfect chilled straight from the bottle or get fancy with a splash of rosewater, sliced cucumber, and a sprig of fresh-cut lemon balm for a refreshing floral cocktail.

Where to find it: 1642 can be found at the Independent Grocer on Davie Street


If you know me even a little bit, you’ll know how much I love hibiscus drink; also known as sorrel, zobo, agua de Jamaica, and bissap. Traditionally enjoyed during the winter holiday season, this pan-African tart and tasty favourite is is high in vitamin C and antioxidants, and refreshing year-round. Nigerian-inspired and Vancouver-produced, Hibisberry is a sorrel/zobo-based ready to drink beverage in two flavours; ginger and pineapple. Enjoy as is, or over ice with half soda for a refreshing summer spritzer.

Insider tip: Keep your eyes out, they’re about to launch a sugar-free version in early July!

Kindred Cultures

If you like kombucha, or if you are kombucha-ed out but like the health benefits, have you tried water kefir? Like the ‘booch, water kefir is fermented with live probiotics to support gut health, but is less acidic, uncarbonated, and caffeine-free. Kindred Cultures produces fruit-infused kefir beverages in four amazing flavours; Cranberry-Turmeric, Lemon-Turmeric, Power Green, and Strawberry-Rosehip, making unique bases for creative zero-proof cocktails. I tried the Strawberry-Rosehip with a shot of Solbrü Focus + Inspire poured over frozen berries instead of ice cubes and it was delish.

Where you can find it: Kindred Cultures can be ordered directly from their website (kindredcultures.com) where they also list their local stockists. ●

NAOMI GRACE (she/they) is a self-dubbed "multisensory medicine maker and artsy-fartsy rabble rouser" who embraces an alcohol-free and plant-based lifestyle. Her art practice incorporates food and drink, music, studio arts and ritual to create immersive experiences. A pioneer in the non-alc space, she is passionate about co-creating new ways to socialize. Her newest venture Bar Zero (barzero.ca) celebrates its official website launch this summer.

Reconnect 2023 39
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Here, IndigiQueer, and ready to dance

Three profiles of queer joy

Ispoke with three Indigiqueer performers about what it’s like to find joy and connection in a time of endemic, rising rent, and everything else we deal with living in so-called “Vancouver.”

OWEN UNRUH @owen.unruh

Owen Unruh is forty-two days sober from crystal meth, again. They are Two-Spirit Nêhiyaw, have flawless skin, and have worked as a dancer, content-creator, and motivational speaker, sharing their recovery journey on Tik Tok and Instagram. Growing

up in a remote B.C. town was rife with homophobia. And while they were adopted by loving parents, they couldn’t access their Cree culture. “It was hard to be myself,” they said, recounting that they spent ten years searching for connection through substances before first getting sober two years ago.

During the COVID-19 lockdowns, Owen felt relief. They used the pandemic to isolate, falling deeper into addiction, uninterrupted by friends and family. “I was able to just disappear and wasn’t missed,” they explain, feeling relieved of potentially disappointing their loved ones. This reality is reflected in a recent poll by Research Co. indicating at least one in five British Columbians know someone who has died from an overdose.

“[My Indigeneity] was suppressed; a dark section in the back of my mind.” With providential timing, their biological family reached out to them weeks after beginning their recovery. At the time, they didn’t feel ready to meet their biological mother and Kokum who were living in Edmonton. But, resolutely, Owen said: “I got ready.” Since reconnecting, Owen has been able to participate in ceremony and has begun learning aspects of Cree culture. Learning about storytelling traditions, they felt purpose in sharing their struggles with a wider audience, especially Indigenous and queer youths struggling with addictions.

Of their relapse forty-two days ago, Owen wrote, “I thought I was going to die.” Like many who struggle with addiction, the road isn’t linear. Sharing their story online keeps them accountable to an international viewership of 250K+ followers. A scan of Instagram comments reveal trauma stories and expressions of gratitude. One comment reads, “You being brave allowed me to feel the transparency to seek therapy and sobriety.”

“We’re all just common people,” Owen says, laughing. “There’s a misconception about people who have a lot of followers…people just learn how to market themselves.”

When asked to describe a moment of pure joy, Owen tells me about go-go dancing: it’s Hotlatch, East Side Warehouse (R.I.P.) is full of Indigenous legends, and they are sharing the stage lights with Sierra. What’s the song? Owen laughs. “Probably some classic Beyoncé.”

42 Reconnect 2023
Learning about storytelling traditions, they felt purpose in sharing their struggles with a wider audience, especially Indigenous and queer youths struggling with addictions.
Timothy Nguyen photo



Virago Nation, the all-Indigenous collective of burlesque performers, have been family to Rainbow Glitz since their formation in 2016. Rainbow, the sexy culmination of her Haida, Squamish, Musqueam, and Black ancestors, spoke to me about growing up, looking for queer community, and fighting to be authentically seen. She would occasionally attend drop-ins at Qmunity, but her understanding of gender did not fit into those spaces. “Colonization put the word transgender in front of my gender. In the old days I would’ve just been called a woman.”

Rainbow never doubted who she is, thanks to Mama Glitz. “I grew up on the medicine road, with my mom and uncle as medicine people.” The Glitzes have been going through it recently, though. Rainbow Glitz is now a full-time care provider after a serious health incident nearly took the iconic Mama’s life a year ago.

Elaborating on her tagline, “Turtle Island’s very own love medicine”, Rainbow explained, “When we say…Love Medicine, it’s completely multi-faceted.” She assured me, everyone can spread good medicine with laughter and connection. Love Medicine means the obvious, like sex and sensuality, but is also friendship, family love, or a hug. “As long as it comes from a place of truth.”

We spoke at length about how Christianity and colonization affect the way some family and elders see her. Rainbow expressed a desire to be respected for who she is fundamentally, not just for the role she serves. Rainbow Glitz wants respect for Indigenous women, however they grew up, “even if you’re a basic bitch.” At a time when Canadians are just beginning to understand the genocide committed by governments and churches, I ask Rainbow if she ever feels fear being a public figure and a sexual icon. “No,” she says, immediately. Here is the wisdom of strippers: “I always had Mama Glitz to teach me–Sexuality is sacred, but not precious.”

“I’ve never had the luxury of being able to hide,” Rainbow goes on, indicating her many visible identities, and the places she has grown up. As a woman, called trans, Rainbow’s confidence and sexual self-love are glorious examples.

When asked about a moment of joy, Rainbow can’t answer. Perhaps a BIPOC space? She feels she has to fight for respect, even there; even among family, there’s work to do. I persist: Where does your body feel most at ease?

“Onstage I can fully embrace myself and share my medicine.” And she is some good medicine: impossibly tall in Pleasers, standing proud under the stage lights.

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Love Medicine means the obvious, like sex and sensuality, but is also friendship, family love, or a hug.
Fubarfoto photo

MONDAY BLUES @mondayshethey

Imagine Monday Blues, entrepreneur, life coach, burlesque icon, on stage in a houndstooth dress and lips like Dorothy’s ruby slippers. You can often spot Monday, “loud and proud” of her EweSecwépemc, Two-Spirit identities, trimmed with mink, marabou, and beaded earrings of their own creation (MondayMayJewelry. com). They started beading to cope with grief: they lost their mother, Sandra May, and then Lupus changed their entire life.

Monday first performed burlesque at Burning Man and eventually, “all over the world”. In figuring out how to approach performing with their new energy levels, Monday shared that joining Virago Nation helped her feel “safe to grow”. “Home is the perfect word,” they said, speaking about what it feels like to be part of the burlesque collective. “It can be a really hard thing to find, especially if you’re racialized.”

Feeling at home in burlesque was hard-won. “The colonial form of burlesque was unfulfilling.” Asked to elaborate, Monday answered carefully and with kindness: “How do I say it lovingly…?” They described how they’ve seen certain bodies, skin colours, and dance training prioritized by show organizers, locally and abroad. Neo-colonial burlesque continues to revere white supremacy, rewarding carbon copies of Dita on her martini pedestal.

“If I go overboard, my body will take me out [for] several days, or months.” The risks are catastrophic: chronic pain, inflammation, and organ damage. Monday has a list of considerations before taking gigs: travel distance, rehearsal time, and is it a living wage? They cannot simply work more to make ends meet. Speaking about how maskless audiences have affected them this year, Monday said, “It feels like a lot…We have returned with a vengeance.” But Monday acquiesces, saying that there has been huge loss in Indigenous communities, and communities need to gather to grieve. There is a need to share laughter and resilience, as much as a need to keep each other safe.

“Supporting disabilities in the arts goes hand in hand with decolonizing and Indigenizing arts spaces,” explains Monday. A recent Virago Nation show partnered with Kickstart Disability Arts & Culture. Their poster read, “MASKS REQUIRED” and was one of the few live events to offer that in 2023.

Monday Blues spent the last couple years calling themself “semi-retired”, but they are ready to tango again. They describe a

summer afternoon at AfroQueer YVR: lime green Astro Turf rolled across a parking lot, and good Caribbean food wafting on the air. In the middle of this bright scene, Monday Blues and her Virago Nation sister, Rainbow Glitz, shake off the day, dancing.

How can we better support Indigiqueer artists? Monday Blues, Owen Unruh, and Rainbow Glitz each said the same thing: Hire us. Tip us. Trust us. Fund us, intergenerationally. ●

LAURA FUKUMOTO (she/her) graduated with a BFA in Theatre Production from the University of British Columbia and has worked in so-called Vancouver for more than a decade: some of these jobs have included fabric wizard, poet, potter, costume designer, public speaker, playwright. More recently, she graduated from Simon Fraser University’s Writer’s Studio, and has been asked to return by her mentor, Joanne Arnott, to TA the poetry cohort of 2023. Recent poetry performances include Diasporic Dynasty, Queer Arts Festival, Rehearsal Sessions at the Evergreen Cultural Centre, Powell Street Festival, as well as a small tour of her co-written play “Mending Circle” to Kaslo, BC in 2022. She writes about her Japanese Canadian heritage, queer joy, and her love of mycology.

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Supporting disabilities in the arts goes hand in hand with decolonizing and Indigenizing arts spaces.
Fubarfoto photo

AUGUST 4-7 $1 from every Cactus Love cocktail sold will be donated to the Vancouver Pride Society.

Reconnect 2023 45 CACTUS
AT ALL VANCOUVER LOCATIONS CLEARING Skeletons in the Closet • The Closet Toxic Relationships • Drama • Burnout Disempowerment • Disconnections • Dishonesties Guilt • Hurt • Sexual Concerns • Questions Insecurities • Ms. Understandings CLEARCOUNSELLING.CA 470 GRANVILLE ST, VANCOUVER BC 604 620 5010 OFFICE@CLEARCOUNSELLING.CA WE’RE IN OUR CLEAR ERA

Mandarin Oranges

Never liked mandarins; was never s’posed to. Its scent filled the room, fingers soaked, tinted and sticky; overbearing, so wrong.

“Jeruk kok makan jeruk?” 1 Moved away to a foreign land filled with flowers of citrus. Started liking mandarins; secretly, ‘cause it’s a sin. Your scent fills my room, fingers soaked in your sweetness; enveloping, just right.

“Ya kan enak, jeruk makan jeruk.” 2 ●

ABI (they/she) is an interdisciplinary designer + illustrator based in Vancouver, BC, working towards their bachelors in communication design in ECUAD. When they’re not obsessing over cool posters on the streets of Broadway or the newest Indonesian film release, they like to self-reflect via their writings; exploring ideas such as gender nonconformity, queer relationships, and living as a newcomer in Canada to name a few. IG: @abelberith_

To our 2SLGBTQAI+ educators, student leaders, and community organizations who continue to help Langara learn and develop a safe, healthy, and inclusive campus, we celebrate you.

Learn more. langara.ca/pride2023

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kok makan jeruk?” is an Indonesian phrase that translates to “why is an orange eating another orange?” It is commonly used as a homophobic joke, based on the notion that it is weird to be in a same-sex relationship.
kan enak, jeruk makan jeruk” translates to “because it’s delicious, that’s why the orange is eating another orange.”
Reading is fundamental.
Reconnect 2023 47 Love Is In The Air! Enter promo code at checkout: VFC23PRIDE Special Pride O er: $5 o two tickets at the VIFF Centre See what’s on now at: O er valid until Dec. 31, 2023. Valid on regular Adult tickets for screenings at the VIFF Centre (not valid for Vancouver International Film Festival events). Must be 19+.
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With you with Pride.




Reconnect 2023 49


Gay dinosaurs and the fight for inclusive kids' books

It was not so long ago that I was a kid, listening to my mom read stories about a male bear who loved honey. Winnie The Pooh was named after a real, female bear called Winnipeg.

I’d like to think that the gender-swapping of the bear was an early example of gender-fluidity in children’s literature, but the real story is a bit different. The author, A.A. Milne, saw himself represented in Winnipeg, a bear who shied away from people. Milne created the character to explain his own psychological trauma as a war veteran to his son.

This is an apt example of the power of children’s literature. Stories have the ability to take complex concepts, and put them into words and pictures that a child can empathize with.

There weren’t any queer characters in the children’s books of my past. There was no Bi-Curious George, Franklin the Turtle never explored gender expression, and the Berenstain Bears never broke gender norms. That’s not to say that there weren’t any books featuring queer characters.

Heather Has Two Mommies (1989) by Lesléa Newman, and When Megan Went Away (1979) by Jane Severance featured LGBT characters, but I was never exposed to them. Few and far between, and seen as controversial, they were harder to come by.

I wonder, sometimes, if my life might have been different if I’d had queer role models to look up to. Maybe the confusion

I felt as a teenager would have been a little easier if I’d had someone in my life, even fictional, to tell me that I was not alone.

That’s why three years ago, with the goal of increasing inclusivity in literature, my boyfriend and I decided to write our own series of positive, inclusive picture books. Those kinds of messages are steadily rising in children’s literature, like in Pride Puppy, by Robin Stevenson, where the community comes together to find a puppy that goes missing during the pride parade; or Pink Is For Boys by Robb Pearlman, which encourages children to choose what they

like, rather than what they’re told to like; or 47,000 Beads by Koja and Angel Adeyoha, which is about a two-spirit child who wants to give up dancing because she doesn’t feel comfortable in dresses.

Authors aren’t alone in their desire to see more inclusive children’s literature. Publishers and literary agents are demanding content written by 2SLGBTQIA+ authors. Through conversations with librarians and bookstore representatives, I’ve learned that young queer people are asking for queer books, especially YA titles like Heartstopper. According to Publishers Weekly, in 2021, sales of LGBTQ fiction reached 5 million (double that of 2020), and those numbers are growing stronger, rising 39% in the first quarter of 2023. Recently, Random House Canada changed their submission policy to exclusively accept books by 2SLGBTQIA+ and BIPOC authors, and other publishers are following the same trend. Bookstores and libraries are dedicating shelf space to inclusive books, and libraries across the globe are hosting inclusive literary events, like Drag Story Hour.

But as inclusivity in children’s literature and literary events has risen to the forefront of popular culture, so has the opposition.

Books are being banned and challenged in schools across North America. Calls to ban books have hit the highest level ever recorded in the USA, according to the Guardian. The “Don’t Say Gay'' bill was recently passed in Florida, preventing schools from teaching students about 2SLGBTQIA+ communities. Culture War battles are being fought in libraries, schools, and bookstores, with those

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We’ve been here before, and we’re tired of being told there’s something wrong with us.
Bryce Raffle photo

opposed to the bannings being painted as “groomers,” reminiscent of the moral panic of the 1970s.

In Chilliwack, the RCMP were called to investigate a complaint that the school library contained “concerning materials,” while councils in Brandon, Manitoba, were approached by protesters demanding public libraries remove certain books. Among the complaints, a Manitoba woman demanded the removal of “books that cause our kids to question whether they are in the wrong body,” citing concerns of protecting children from “sexual grooming.” It’s the same rhetoric that’s been used by protesters opposed to Drag Story Hour, a worry that queer content somehow grooms children to become gay or trans or enables pedophilia.

Drag Queen Storytime at the Coquitlam Public Library was targeted this January by protesters spreading messages of anti-drag hysteria.While less than a dozen protesters were reported to attend, around 100 supporters of the event showed up to defend inclusion, turning the library into a political battleground in the fight for equality. That fight, despite being centred around children’s literary events, is not really about books at all.

The attack on 2SLGBTQAI+ literature is just one more battlefield in the never-ending war on queer communities. The tactic of demonizing 2SLGBTQAI+ communities as “child groomers” is harmful; it’s led to increased harassment and violence, event cancellations, and book bannings, but this narrative is nothing we haven’t seen before. Painting 2SLGBTQIA+ communities as dangerous has been used for decades for political means. The anti-drag hysteria we’ve been seeing lately is just one more example of a broader attack on anyone seen as “Other.” Trans and non-binary people, and drag performers are being lumped together, sexualized, and villainized with false narratives of child grooming.

The first Pride Parade was a riot against oppression. It is no surprise, then, that our community is fighting back and reclaiming our narrative.

Samantha Wink, a representative for the Coquitlam Public Library, said that the large turn-out from supporters was evidence the events are resonating with the city.

As an author of children’s books myself, I think it’s more than just that. We’ve been here before, and we’re tired of being told there’s something wrong with us, and of being told not to encourage children to simply be themselves or to ask questions. That way of thinking isn’t new, and it reminds us that after all the progress we’ve made, we’re still fighting for equality.

Our latest book, The Littlest Dinosaur Goes To A Wedding, includes a same-sex wedding, a right that wasn’t recognized nationwide until 2005—and as we are witnessing, rights can be rolled back.

I worry about how I will fare if faced with protesters, or if my books will be banned from schools and libraries. After all, my livelihood depends on it. More importantly, I worry for the future of education for the next generation of kids, who risk growing up as I did; without any queer role models. If kids cannot learn about queer issues in school, and many kids aren’t able to learn about them at home, then the library is their last safe haven. After the protest at The Coquitlam Library, I think it’s unlikely we’ll see another Drag Queen Storytime there anytime soon. The sad truth is that all it took was less than a dozen loud opinions to shut Drag Story Hour down.

What’s next to be shut down? Where do we draw the line? Lines are clearly being

drawn. If the fight for inclusion is taking place in schools and libraries, then inclusive books must be seen as a call to arms, and the decision to simply pick up a book and read it to our kids might just be an act of political defiance. ●

BRYCE RAFFLE (he/ him) was the lead writer for Ironclad Games’ Sins of A Dark Age and has written for other game studios, such as Lioncode Games’ Mech Armada and is best known for his work alongside co-author Steven Kothlow on the children’s book series, The Littlest Dinosaur. Bryce has been a panelist at numerous literary festivals, such as Creative Ink Fest and Word Vancouver. His short story, The Complications of Avery Vane, won best steampunk short in the P&A Readers’ Choice Awards. He has a BA in English from the University of Manitoba. He teaches creative writing for the Alexandra Writers Centre Society, and designs book covers for other authors. He lives in New Westminster, where he works in the film industry as a boom operator.

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Stories have the ability to take complex concepts, and put them into words and pictures that a child can empathize with.
Bryce Raffle photo
52 Reconnect 2023 Globalnews.ca Proud to be a part of Vancouver Pride!
Reconnect 2023 53

Small town girl

How to grow up trans and not find out until you’re fifty

Iwas raised in a small town halfway between the coasts, and word of Christine Jorgensen, Sylvia Rivera, and Marsha P. Johnson didn’t reach us or had long since faded when I entered elementary school in 1971. It was hard for me to recognize and acknowledge my female gender identity when trans trailblazers were hidden from view.

Family and peers policed gender, and I was the kind of kid who did what I was told. There were gender tests on the playground to ensure that I walked, dressed, and looked at my fingernails and feet the “right” way. I preferred playing bride and paper dolls with girls, but soon discovered that I was attracted to them too. I don’t recall hearing the word “lesbian” until university, so I was, by virtue of anatomy

and attraction to female, male. This didn’t keep me from thinking of Mom as a social peer, following women’s fashion, or from longing to wear dresses in the summer.

Jealous of her perfume, I followed my high school girlfriend a little too closely on a trip to Europe in 1982 and the chaperones said to each other, “Don’t worry about him, he’s gay.” She made it clear that we were just friends who held hands, had a first kiss, and went to movies and prom together. It wasn’t a deal-breaker for me, and she came out as lesbian in 1997, long after we parted.

When my present-day partner and I first moved in together in 1987, I tried on her earrings and bra. We laughed it off as a joke, and I suppressed those urges for the next twenty-eight years. In between, I

buried myself in science and evolved into a professor who didn’t have time to order cable TV or read the news. Fortunately, my subconscious had a way of escaping its closet, and on February 19, 2015, it came out in a most unexpected way.

I was struggling to concentrate on work in a shared office when a co-worker strode in, ranting about transgender students protesting for more gender-inclusive washrooms at Simon Fraser University. Before I could stop myself, I said, “I think the world will be a better place when all the dinosaurs are dead!” We looked at each other, then turned to our work. When he left, I turned to my other colleague and said, “Sorry you had to hear that. I didn’t mean him specifically. Just all the people you hear about on the news trying to keep kids from learning about sexual orientation and gender identity. I think what he said about the students protesting upset me because if I were their age, I might have transitioned myself.” She blinked a couple times, lost in her lecture notes, and

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I think what he said about the students protesting upset me because if I were their age, I might have transitioned myself.
It was hard for me to recognize and acknowledge my female gender identity when trans trailblazers were hidden from view.
Dean A. Johnson photo A.M. Kirsch photo

turned back to the glow of her laptop.

The next day, the psychologist and I were alone in the office, so I broke the silence. “Sorry about my outburst yesterday. I hope you didn’t take what I said personally.” His reply wasn’t what I expected. “Transgenders are like pedophiles. Maybe not as bad as pedophiles, but on the same spectrum and need counselling to manage their illness.” For my own mental health, I left our conversation there.

I pushed my repressed identity as far back into the closet as possible, yet the epiphany led to a year of reading every journal article and medical reference I could find on being transgender and transitioning. It wasn’t long before my gender dysphoria deepened and I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror.

Something had to give. I came out first to my partner. Tears flowed as I played back my hidden history of gender dysphoria, but our relationship grew stronger and she supported me through two years of medical and social transition. Family,

friends, and students were invaluable companions on this journey as I slowly transformed into the woman I needed to see in the mirror, with a different name, face, hair, and body. I was unrecognizable to colleagues I knew before, leading to some awkward conversations, but I continued doing the same work day after day without skipping a beat.

Seven years after the epiphany in the office, I’m comfortable as a woman with a non-binary gender identity and lesbian sexual orientation. Every person’s path to gender affirmation is unique and rarely

easy, but I’ve been fortunate, and am sharing the message that it’s never too late to discover and express your true self, even when you grow up trans and don’t find out until you’re fifty. ●

A.M. KIRSCH (she/they) is a local writer and volunteer with a self-published creative non-fiction memoir on the shelves and a second story on the way. They live with a cat named Emma and their partner of thirty-seven years. When not reading or writing, they enjoy swimming, snorkeling, cycling, and kayaking.

Instagram: @A_M_Kirsch | Web: amkirsch.com

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Seven years after the epiphany in the office, I’m comfortable as a woman with a non-binary gender identity and lesbian sexual orientation.



As our nation’s flag carrier, Air Canada is proud to support and celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion in the air and on the ground.

#flytheflag @aircanada

Transporteur national, Air Canada est fière de soutenir et de célébrer la diversité, l’équité et l’inclusion en vol comme au sol.

#hautledrapeau @aircanada

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FREE MEMBERSHIP promo code PRIDE Offer expires 12/31/2023 and is valid on new Evo Memberships only. Free minutes are valid 30 days from time of Membership approval. evo.ca and use
Reconnect 2023 57 Dentons Canada is pleased to sponsor the Vancouver Pride Society and we look forward to marching and celebrating with our 2SLGBTQ+ communities this year! © 2023 Dentons. Dentons is a global legal practice providing client services worldwide through its member firms and a iliates. Please see dentons.com for Legal Notices. dentons.com

Queer your summer reading

These eight books are destined for your beach bag.

Summer suspends time and books bend space, a match made in the continuum. During this season, there's a meteorological—if not cosmic— magic in the air, drawing readers out from their homes to beaches, parks, and front porches across Vancouver, paperbacks in tow.

To answer the question of which books to bring along with you, here is a selection of summer-warm prose written by queer authors. Grab these titles from your local library or indie bookstore, unfurl a picnic blanket, and while away the extended daylight hours in good company. After all, what is the sun if not a really big, high-wattage reading lamp?


A collage of poetry, selfies, dictionary definitions, dialogue, and landscapes, Indigiqueerness weaves in and out of a stirring conversation between professor Angie Abdou and Joshua Whitehead, Oji-Cree/nehiyaw, Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer member of the Peguis First Nation (Treaty 1). With an apocalyptic urgency, this multisensory work—equal parts book and art object—renews the reader’s energy to imagine, reflect, and create.

GET IT AT: Paper Hound Bookshop


Our Wives Under the Sea is perhaps the ultimate beach read insomuch that it explores the ocean and “the teeth it keeps half hidden.”

After a months-long submarine excursion gone wrong, marine biologist Leah returns home to her wife Miri, haunted still by the fathoms below. Following the couple through a macabre and intimate transformation, this is a story full of sea monsters, love, grief, and other curiosities of the (super)natural world.

GET IT AT: Pulpfiction Books


The Pump is a fantastical, filthy, suffocat-

ing place in rural Ontario populated by peculiar creatures and familiar smalltown characters. With this series of interconnected stories, Hegele visibilizes the horrors of domesticity and colonial industry, asserting themself as a new player with staying power in the contemporary Gothic canon.

GET IT AT: Vancouver Public Library


Though it wouldn’t be hard to flip through this graphic memoir in a single sitting, you’d be remiss not to take your time within each muted blue frame of Spinning, the sparkling story of a girl discovering and rediscovering herself on the ice. Cartoonist Tillie Walden masterfully translates the complexities of girlhood onto paper, exploring adolescence in all its beautiful, grizzly, devastating glory. The Twilight, Pokemon and Zoey 101 references are merely icing on this very sweet, very gay cake.

GET IT AT: Kidsbooks


“Finally the summary: it’s summer / and you’re okay / with the discomfort”

A poetry collection slim enough to accompany you on your every warm-weather adventure, Trinity Street electrifies like a late July sky. Prayer and confrontation are persistent guides within Currin’s poetics, leading the reader through a slant utopia to an imaginary garden in Vancouver, “holy

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/ with unburdened bodies.” Here, conceive of an Earth untethered from crisis. It’s nice.

GET IT AT: Irondog Books


LA, Tokyo, prom, marching bands, pop stars, anime, hot makeout sessions, and a thoughtfully written, diverse cast of characters—Beating Heart Baby has it all. It’s tender, vulnerable, and sticky, and YA fans should put it at the top of their TBR list immediately.

GET IT AT: Book Warehouse


Expanding on their wildly popular podcast about the gay people “who do not flatter us,” Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller excavate and call out the dastardly queers of decades and centuries past, from Frederick the Great to Margaret Mead. As educational as it is catty, Bad Gays is a fun history book with a wickedly aesthetic cover.

GET IT AT: Upstart and Crow


This picture book is a delightful reminder that every body is a beach body. Tyler Feder, who “has a round tummy, fuzzy eyebrows, and a mole on her left arm with a little hair growing out of it,” encourages readers to celebrate the human form in its every manifestation. And hey, between all that sandcastle building, cannonballing, and general gamboling, kids deserve to kick back with a good book too.

GET IT AT: Massy Books ●


(she/her) is a queer writer, actor, and library enthusiast living on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples. Her writings on art, food, ghosts, and pop culture have appeared in national publications including Prism Magazine, Grain Magazine, Narcity, and SAD Mag, where she is also an editor. Twitter: @urhouseishauntd

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A message from the Vancouver Secondary Teachers’ Association iStock To our LGBTQ2S+ students, colleagues, and families and all members of the LGBTQ2S+ community: We see you, we love you, and we celebrate you—exactly as you are.
Reconnect 2023 61 HAPPY PRIDE FROM BCNU www.bcnu.org Supporting our communities with PRIDE and culturally safe care. Filled with pride. Order proudly from your local 2SLGBTQ+ restaurants to show your support.


Drinks, drag, brunches, and more! Visit one of these local businesses and support the Vancouver Pride Society Bursary Program.


655 Burrard Street

Monday, July 31 to Monday, August 7

Prepared as a masterpiece embodying Pride’s spirit, the Taste of Harmony Cake at the Hyatt Regency

“references the colour grading from Harvey

Milk’s rainbow flag,” explains executive chef Daniel Chiang. Enjoy a slice of vibrant cake while discovering the new Summer cocktail menu featuring locally sourced ingredients. Enjoy this perfect pairing with friends during Pride Week with with $2 from each purchase supporting the VPS Bursary Program.

Hyatt Pride Room Promotion

Stay and Play between Aug 1-10

Free Buffet Breakfast at Mosaic

2pm Late Check Out

$25 daily credit at Grain Tasting Bar Free room upgrade (subject to availability) BOOK NOW for an unforgettable experience!


1025 Davie Street

All summer

Show your Pride with a Rainbow Pride pin! The Fountainhead sells Pride pins all summer for $2. Proceeds from pins and Drag Brunch on Sept. 2nd benefit VPS Bursary Fund.


1160 Davie Street

Monday, July 31 to Monday, August 7

Show your support for Vancouver Pride Society while enjoying our most refresh-

ing beverage of the summer. Our Watermelon Sangria made with peach slices, Watermelon Absolut vodka, Rosé and fresh watermelon is guaranteed to be a crowd-favourite after a long day of soaking in the summer sun. With your help, $1 of every drink sold will be donated to the VPS Bursary Fund.


Metro Vancouver Cactus Clubs

Friday, August 4 to Monday, August 7


39 Smithe Street, Centre Bar (level 2) and Lotus Lounge (level 3) Friday, August 4 to Monday, August 7

Could this possibly be THE cocktail of the season? The team at Parq has designed a delicious sensation called the Rainbow-Rita which embraces the essence of PRIDE. For every limited edition cocktail purchased at Centre Bar (level 2 casino) or Lotus Lounge (level 3 casino), $1 is donated to Rainbow Refugee.


1423 Continental Street

Sunday, August 6, 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Meet the Cactus Love: A toast to love, equality, and self-expression! Visit your favourite Metro Vancouver Cactus Club Cafe to enjoy these NEW colour cocktails presented in partnership with Smirnoff Canada. $1 from EVERY Cactus Love sold will be donated to Vancouver Pride Community Bursaries!


8901 Stanley Park Drive

Saturday, July 29

Show 1: 10 a.m.-12 p.m. or Show 2: 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.

Celebrating Pride in Vancouver with their 4th annual Drag Brunch in Stanley Park, featuring iconic Vancouver Diva Jerrilynn Spears and friends. Get your tickets now to this one-of-a-kind drag brunch show, in support of the VPS Bursary Fund. Get your tickets: stanleyparkbrewstore. com/products/drag-brunch-in-stanleypark-2023.

The team at Fresh St. Market proudly welcomes Vancouver's Pride parade to the neighborhood. Come enjoy a great view of the parade along with local DJ Dean and parade emcee starting at 11:30am. The team from Fresh St. and Grimm’s Fine Foods will be serving up good eats in support of the Vancouver Pride Bursary Fund. ●


The Vancouver Pride Society Bursary Program is an opportunity to redistribute funds to local Queerserving organizations, projects, or initiatives. This Bursary strives to support Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour initiatives by providing funds to community organizations that serve equity-deserving identities in the 2SLGBTQAI+ community.

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Reconnect 2023 63 Proudly serving the community with personal, compassionate care. 3789 Royal Oak Ave. | Burnaby, BC V5G 3M1 Dignity Memorial is a division of Service Corporation International (Canada), ULC, a publicly owned company. *Registered Trademark of CARP, used under license. Forest Lawn FUNERAL HOME & MEMORIAL PARK 604-299-7720



Sunday, July 16, 6:30-10 pm

Boarding at Pacific Blvd Marina

$57 | 19+

Ahoy, me hearties! Come aboard our ship as we explore the high seas of adventure. A bold and smexy crew will guide us on our quest for fun and booty! Don yer finest sailing gear and gather yer pirate kin for a journey you’ll never forget.


Saturday, July 22

The Cobalt, 917 Main St.

$20-$25 | 19+

Celebrate the opening of this new Queer and Trans $trxpclub night at the Cobalt. Created as an alternative to mainstream $tripclubs, this space is meant to foster a safe and validating work environment for Queer and Trans $trxppers.


Saturday, July 22, 10 pm-3 am

The Birdhouse by EASTSIDE STUDIOS, 44 W 4th Ave.

$20-$30 | 19+

Calling all boys, sexy daddies, burly bears, nonbinary darlings, trans masc hotties, fun loving twinks, femme babes, hard masc honeys, gym bros, silver foxes, kinky pups, c*nty cuties & homo loving boys of every persuasion.


Friday, July 28, 10:30 pm-2 am

The Cobalt, 917 Main St.

$12 | 19+

Welcome to the hottest DRAG SHOW w/ performances of these POC local legends! Come feel the heat and hallucinate at high temperatures. DIVINE INTERVENTION + Friends w/Special



Sat, July 29, 4-10 pm

Hotel At The Waldorf, 1489 E. Hastings St.

$22-$50 | 19+

Dance under the summer sky as the enchanting Disco Fairies light up the stage with dazzling performances in an open-air extravaganza of love, diversity, and the magic of disco.


August 1-6

Celebrities Nightclub, 1022 Davie St.

“Come Together” to celebrate our favourite time of the year! Keep your eyes out for Celebrities

Pride this summer, promising huge fun and diverse programming. celebritiesnightclub.com


Thursday, August 3, 8 pm-1 am

The Birdhouse by EASTSIDE STUDIOS, 44 W 4th Ave. $23-$28 | 19+

We couldn’t be more excited to bring you a classic LIPS party but this time to celebrate PRIDE! A night of dancing, celebrating queer joy, and being absolutely stunned by jaw-dropping Burlesque!


Friday, August 4, 4 pm-2 am

The Cobalt / The Boxcar, 917 Main St. $14-$27 | 19+

Begin by basking in the sunshine with dazzling disco, then head inside for an unforgettable Drag & Burlesque show curated by Toddy. End the night on the dance floor with house and techno by b.note, DR BPM, and Colby B.


August 5-6 , 11:30 am-7 pm

Oppenheimer Park and surrounding area Free | All Ages

Held in Vancouver’s historic Japanese Canadian neighbourhood, and influenced by typical Japanese summer festivals, PSF has something for everyone, including dance, music, film and video, visual arts, martial arts demonstrations, amateur sumo tournament, children’s activities, walking tours, vendors, delicious Japanese food, and more. powellstreetfestival.com


August 5-7, 2023

Stanley Park

Vancouver International Pride (VIP) Tournament is an annual GLTA (Gay Lesbian Tennis Alliance) tennis tournament held in Stanley Park over Vancouver Pride weekend. This fun tennis tournament provides an open, safe and inclusive space for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, and attracts a roster of international players of various skill levels. vtatennis.ca


Saturday, August 5, 3-9 pm

1898 Main St., Back Alley

$25-$30 | 19+

Come join us at an amazing location behind The Narrow where we'll transform the alley into a Pride day rave featuring DJs, drag queens, bar, food and a pool! Enjoy the picturesque view of the mountains while getting down to local and international House / Tech-House DJs until the sun sets.


August 6, 5:30 pm

PNE Amphitheatre

$59-$99 | All Ages

HAPPYLAND brings a one-of-a-kind experience to festival-goers with exclusive access to the concert venue and Playland’s thrill rides, plus all of Playland’s vendors and dining. Includes a 19+ VIP section, food trucks, an alcohol-free zone, and more. Portion of ticket sales to VPS and QMUNITY.


August 6, 2 pm-2 am

Cobalt/Boxcar + Parking Lot, 917 Main St $20 Day/$20 Evening | 19+

Ice-T Dance x Drag Party – DJs, Drag, and Performers with special Surprise Guest w/performances by Age of Aquarius & Quarterback.


Sunday, August 6, 10 pm-5 am The Wave Space, #202-8475 Ontario St. $25 - $35 | 19+

Cap off your Vancouver Pride weekend at a dark underground warehouse rave until the sun comes up! Featuring House / Bass House / Techno DJs.


August 10-20

Downtown Vancouver + Online

VQFF is proud to present over 90 short and feature-length films of all genres from local and international 2SLGBTQIA+ artists! Join us for screenings, panels, parties, and drag performances from your local favs. queerfilmfestival.ca ●

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out an event or three this Pride, run by one of the many 2SLGBTQAI+ organizations in the city!
happy pride! DISCOUNT HAWAII CAR RENTAL 1-800-292-1930 DISCOUNTHAWAIICARRENTAL.COM • NATIONAL RENTAL COMPANIES • NO PREPAYMENT • CANCEL ANYTIME www.theiv.ca | (604) 974-8999 1060 HOMER STREET, YALETOWN IV Vitamin Therapy Naturopathic Medicine Aesthetics Registered Acupuncture Registered Massage Therapy The IV Health Centre is Vancouver’s first ever health centre featuring intravenous vitamin therapy Less debt, more you! We're here to help. www.sands-trustee.com SCAN TO START YOUR FITNESS JOURNEY Hi, Vancouver Pride Goers! We are Ed and Ad Iron of Ad Iron Fitness, and are excited to announce the opening of our brand new studio, rive & Conquer Fitness Professionals coming very soon! We are a unique tness company specializing in supporting and nurturing independent tness professionals in Vancouver. Our tness professionals provide personal, semi-private and small group training. Each professional has their own style and philosophy when it comes to exercise. INFO@THRIVEANDCONQUER.CA THRIVEANDCONQUER.CA INFO@ADIRONFITNESS.COM ADIRONFITNESS.COM 1377 GRANVILLE ST, VANCOUVER 604-788-7882 Visit bcplace40.com for more details. T W O T I C K E T S T O E V E R SI NGL E C O NC E R T, G A M E & P UB L IC E V E N T *** I N 20 2 4 ** * Tell us about your most precious BC Place memory and win two tickets to every single concert, game and public event at the stadium next year

Thanks to our 2023 sponsors


Vancouver Pride Society thanks all of our 2023 Community Partners for the important service they provide year-round to our communities.

Aces & Aros

AfroQueer YVR

ASL Interpreting Inc

Buddy System

BC Centre for Disease Control

Canucks Autism Network


Comedy Here Often

Covenant House

Community Based Research Centre

Cutting Edges

Dragon Boat BC

Drill Events

East Side Studios ENBY6

Family Services of the North Shore

– Proud to Be

Forbidden Vancouver

Good Night Out Vancouver

Greater Vancouver Native Cultural Society

Haus of Bukuru

Health Initiative for Men

Hot Latch

House of Rice

Juicy Gems

Just For Laughs Vancouver

JQT Vancouver

Last Door Recovery Society

Learn Educate Transform Society


Little Sisters Book Emporium

Malaspina Printmakers Society


Musqueam Indian Band

Normie Corp

Out On Screen/Vancouver Queer

Film Festival


Pop Queen Cardio

Queer Based Media



Rainbow Foundation of Hope

Rainbow Refugee Society


Roar Cat Reads

Saige Community Foodbank

Sher Vancouver

Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

Smoke Signals

Sober Babes Vancouver

Squamish Nation

Storytelling with Drag Queens Foundation

Support the Scene

Theatre Under the Stars

Trans Care BC

Trans, Two Spirit, Genderqueer, Intersex March

Transgender Expressions Haven

Tsleil-Waututh Nation

Volunteer Thank You

Under The Table Poetry

Urban Native Youth Association –2-Spirit Collective

Vancouver Black Library

Vancouver Black Therapy & Advocacy Fund

Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba

Vancouver Dyke March

Vancouver Frontrunners

Vancouver Gaymers

Vancouver Tennis Association

Vancouver Queer Irish

Van Mural Fest

Van Vogue Jam

Velveteen Vintage Virago Nation

Vocal Eye

West End Seniors Network

Whiskeyjacks Water Polo

The Vancouver Pride Society depends on volunteers to help make our Pride seasons happen.

In 2022, 239 hardworking volunteers contributed over 1,668 volunteer hours at 12 events and three lounges! This year, 268 hours of volunteer hours have already been contributed by 51 volunteers for our new Winter Pride Fest. From set up to take down, to everything in between, volunteers work hard to make our events possible. We deeply appreciate all the support shown by our volunteers for over 40 years. Thank you everyone who dedicated their free time to volunteering at our events.

To volunteer, please contact volunteercoordinator@vancouverpride.ca!

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Enjoy our Watermelon Sangria made with peach slices, Watermelon Absolut vodka, Rosé and fresh watermelon.

$1 from every drink will be donated to Vancouver Pride Community Bursaries.


after Pride Month.

Forever Proud. Forever Progressing. Proud to support 2SLGBTQ+ initiatives for health, housing, and financial security, year-round.

Learn more at td.com/foreverprogressing

® The TD logo and other TD trademarks are the property of The Toronto-Dominion Bank or its subsidiaries.
The drive for positive change doesn’t stop
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