Monday, August 07, 2006



Well folks, the Pride Parade wound its way into the hearts of everyone yesterday by its bedazzling display of celebration and spirit. It was fun marching and bringing a message of what Pride is supposed to be. Our No Trademark Campaign was well received and of course, this blogwriter worked the crowd to ensure our message was memorable. A number of prominent leaders marched with our contingent, including Shirley Chan and her husband Steve, Chief Bill Wilson, Sandra LaFramboise, and Sex Trade Rights Activist and Madam Scarlett of Scarlett's House. To our No Trademark marchers and volunteers--Barbara, Thunder, Gloria Hole, Robyn, Sabrina, Mike, Clare, Karen, Mark--Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

A few random thoughts on the Parade are now presented.

As usual, for me anyway, is the enormous Pride I feel when I see the Little Sisters contingent. When Jim Deva, Janine Fuller, Bruce Smyth and their staff come before me, I'm overwhelmed with emotion. I'm reminded of the true meaning of heroes in our community. Little Sisters has been on the frontlines of freedom battles for three decades and they have led the way in advancing Queer Liberation. I cherish them and all the work that they do on behalf of Vancouver's GLBT citizens.

And speaking of heroes, Vancouver Centre MP, Dr. Hedy Fry, who is a Liberal leadership contender, looked ravishing as a Old style Saloon Gurl. I was really hoping she would mount that mechanical bull which was front and centre of her float. I asked her before the start of the parade, whether she would be straddling that bull. She laughed and said No--my reply--oh Hedy don't worry about being rubbed the wrong way!

Speaking of rubbing, I ran into another community stalwart, NDP member for Van-East, Ms Libby Davies, who graciously offerred me her sunscreen. After she introduced me to the federal NDP leader, Mr. Jack Layton, Libby proceeded to apply her sunscreen to my arms and back. I informed Libby that was probably the first time she has ever rubbed a Tranny. The three of us had a good laugh over this and I wished her a happy Pride and thanked Mr. Layton for participating and attending our Pride.

And on the political front, the municipal NPA really stood out. They were well represented with a number of their City Councillors, School trustees and Park Commissioners adorned and awash in rainbow plums. Councillor Kim Capri placed a temporary tattoo on my left shoulder and I was happy to have received this branding from Ms Capri, who I think one day may well become our first female Mayor. Councillor Elizabeth Ball, was radiant in red and looked the part of a glamorous City Councillor. Her red feather boa and red Elizabethan hat looked very Madam like. Councillor Suzanne Anton and Councillor B.C. Lee who designed the colourful plums were wowing the crowd and bringing Pride well wishes to everyone.

On the greener side of things, provincial Green leader, Adriane Carr stopped by our float to say hello. Ms Carr was once again, as she does year after year, marching in the Pride parade, bringing forth a message of hope for our future. I hope, voters of our province elects this Green leader come next election. Not having Ms Carr in the legislature is a real travesty of justice since her party consistently attracts a significant number of votes.

Ok now onto the part of Pride which concerns me, well besides the trademarking issue.

Once again, Starbucks had a very large contingent of its workers in matching yellow shirts. Not to dis the Starbucks employees but I wonder if they get paid for being in the parade?

I think this whole issue of non gay businesses which are clearly marketing their products and services in our parade needs to be addressed. The firetruck done in pink, which was marketing shavers, struck a nerve with me, since for the life of me, I couldn't figure out how it contributes to the liberation and freedom of our community. Other businesses, who are obvious and in some cases, quite blatant in promoting their products, trouble me.

While I am totally comfortable being welcoming and allowing everyone to showcase themselves in our Pride parade, I would rest easier, knowing that there are some stringent guidelines in place regarding 'gay for a day' businesses.

So while, on this special day, we can celebrate our freedoms, let us not forget the true meaning of Pride. It is liberating to know we can march and be accepted, but let us consider holding back a little and not allowing our parade to be commodified and exploited by those using our parade for purely business marketing reasons.

Pride on Everyone!

Jamie Lee Hamilton