As the first week back to school came to a close, the 3rd annual UBC Pride event ended the week not with a bang, but with some glitter. From its beginnings as a modest summer picnic, UBC Pride has grown to be a full-blown celebration of the campus’ LGBTQ2IA+ community complete with drag queens, slam poetry, and colourful tents housing the diverse collection of resources available at UBC.
Donned with a rainbow balloon arch, incoming and current students were welcomed back with open arms from Pride’s trailblazing Saulteaux & Cree host, Quanah Style. Lighting up the stage with her electric energy, she was joined by a multitude of talent from UBC students and alumni performing throughout the night.
The most impressive act of the night, however, was probably the crowd itself. Gathered under a multicoloured tapestry strung with twinkling lights, the party really began with a congregation of people voguing, waacking, and throwing together UBC Pride’s very first soul train led by Ikue Ueno and Jonathan Kol of House of La Douche.
Off in the calmer, more tranquil corners of Pride was a queer library presented by UBC Library and Out On The Shelves: Vancouver’s only library devoted to LGBTQ2IA+ books. But Pride goers were not the only ones flipping page to page, because under the Kids & Queens tent was Sister Fancy Pants offering story time sessions to the families and children who came out on Friday night. Attendees channelled their inner-kid as they hopped from colouring in pictures of queer icons, to personalizing their own crowns and helping the winner of the Love is in the Air: Pride installation winner, Tiffany Wu, fold one of the 2000 cranes needed to complete her art installation.
More importantly, 2019 marked the 50th year of the Stonewall Riots: these demonstrations sparked by Marsha P. Johnson in the streets New York were the driving force behind the fight for the rights of the LGBTQ2IA+ community. To pay respects to this historic event at UBC Pride stood a replica of the iconic brick wall from Manhattan’s Stonewall Inn decorated with bright, encouraging messages to members of the queer community all over the world.
Glammed up in glitter (which was eco-friendly of course), participants of this year’s UBC Pride enjoyed an absolutely free and fabulous evening where the beauty of all sexual orientations and gender identities could be celebrated in a safe and positive space.
But let’s not stop here. UBC Pride can be more than a one-day celebration. We aim to inspire our community on campus to continually celebrate pride, appreciate the beauty of all sexual and gender identities and build Positive Space throughout the year. What ideas do you have? Join us in growing an inclusive campus community and apply for a community grant from UTown@UBC. You can find more info about the grants here– see you next year!