Sunday, August 12, 2007


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


The Pride parade has come and gone and this year, I decided to watch the parade. I had a great vantage point from Maria's Taverna on Denman Street. Much of the parade, like the feast on my plate, was a spectacle to devour, however, once again I witnessed the increasing commercialization of the ever-growing pride-for a-day components.

While our Pride captures the imagination of the various corporate entities in the City, many in the GLBTQ community, as a result, are feeling disenfranchised from Pride. I too add my name to the ever-growing concerns that corporate impacts are having on our yearly celebration.
This year I watched as entry after entry was proudly displaying their brand logos but I didn't rejoice as many of these entries lacked fabulousness and for the most part were non-creative. Just throwing a rainbow flag over your marketing display isn't quite good enough.

Not wanting to single out any one entrant, suffice to say, something must be done regarding how our Pride can make a return to its roots, showcasing our proud history, our achievements, our strengths and even our losses.

Getting back to our roots will take courage, creative thinking and strong leadership. Pride President, John Boychuk, has gone on record stating that Pride is becoming a victim of its own success and this has resulted in Pride continuing to be increasingly commercial.

There is no question that corporations are participating in Pride. While our community cannot exclude parade registrants, nor should we, it seems to me though that a committee must be struck to oversee and regulate the terms of how corporate entries participate. This can easily be done by striking an Corporate Oversight Committee with stellar individuals from our community who are willing to bring forward and implement a strict plan of governance.

To not do so will quickly hasten the demise of our community Pride. If no action is taken, the parade simply will be overtaken and become walking/marching billboards for the gay-for-a-day crowd. It is already listing heavily in this direction.

President Boychuk often states publicly that Pride has no other choice but to put in place, best business practises to ensure the continued success of Pride.

Pride was never intended to be a business and there must be work done to ensure this community celebration has the necessary funds committed by various level;s of government to ensure it remains in the hands of community members and not special interests who view Pride as economically beneficial to their self-serving interests.


Last night, I received news from former Pride President, Shawn Ewing, that Charlie Leversuch passed away on Saturday evening at the Cottage Hospice. Charle was a long time fixture in the community, first working at the Little Spot restaurant on East Hastings while tending bar at night at Ms Ts cabaret on West Pender. In more recent times, Charlie could be found running the spotlight on show nights at the Dufferin Hotel.

Charlie was a giant of a man with a golden heart. He was very proud of his Pride heritage and served for many years giving back to his community, by volunteering with Pride and serving on the board.

I last saw Charlie one winter night outside Nester's Market on Seymour Street. He chatted with me how he was feeling much better regarding the cancer surgery he had undergone. He displayed a strong spirit and you could see the twinkle in his eyes. We briefly chatted about Pride and how he was feeling excluded. I reminded him that often new people come in with new ideas and sometimes that can be a good thing, however, if they veer off-course, its up to the old-guard to rear them back into line. We had a good chuckle over this and that' s how I will remember Charlie. Rest in Peace my friend!

Jamie Lee Hamilton
NB Rainbow photo taken at this year's Pride and is supplied courtesy of Rob LeMoal designs. Thanks Rob!