The Victoria Pride Society’s mission is to empower those who are, or think they might be, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, two-spirited, intersex, and their friends and allies – it’s a mission they take to the streets each year in growing numbers during Pride Week.
Victoria’s Pride Week began 20 years ago with a picnic in Beacon Hill Park and continues to focus on inclusiveness, accessibility and diversity and includes many family-friendly events.
It was not so long ago that Pride Week activities would garner little mention in the local newspapers. At the time the so-called “alternative lifestyle” was something hidden in the shadows, Pride events left to the alternative papers or notices in the classified section.
In recent years, Victoria’s Pride Week has increased exponentially with this year’s Pride Parade entries at an all-time high and vendors wanting booths at the MacDonald Park festival lining up for space.
Pride Week has actually become so mainstream that a group has sprung up to organize the Alt Pride Fest, accessible, celebratory, trans-inclusive, free (or sliding scale from $0), and open to people of all ages events.
Today, The Victoria Pride Society is one of a few national Pride Societies who encourage all people to walk the Pride Parade route – generating thousands of people proudly walking the streets of Victoria for themselves, colleagues or loved ones.
Whether you’re on the sidelines in the crowd cheering on the participants, or marching proudly down the streets yourself, all Victorians should take pride in our city’s diversity and acceptance of all people.
Pride Week culminates with the annual Pride Parade and festival on Sunday, July 5 at MacDonald Park with thousands of guests enjoying an afternoon of entertainment and celebration. Go to victoriapridesociety.org for more information.
The third annual Alt Pride Two-Spirit, Trans and Genderqueer Solidarity March takes place Saturday, July 4. Go to altpridefest.wordpress.com for more information.