Sunday, January 20, 2008


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


For a few years, PRIDE, the organization which puts on the yearly gay parade has been undergoing changes and working to re-organize itself.

Developing from this re-vamping, a variety of visions for the PRIDE society have come forward and while at times the various opinions clashed, what seems now to be a sense of PRIDE re-newel is taking shape.

The membership has voted down a push by the governance committee to restrict membership. Volunteer recognition has been implemented where volunteers who contribute 18 hours of volunteer time will be rewarded with a complimentary membership.

On another front, the governance committee wanted to water down the principle of gender parity, replacing this parity with gender diversity and the members chose not to go there. It is vitally important that the President and Vice-President positions reflect gender equality and this was maintained by the membership.

The numerous special meetings held to work through proposed changes has, I think, brought about a greater understanding of what PRIDE means. This diversity of PRIDE voices, reflects the different pieces of the pride movement and this is exactly what PRIDE needs.
For the first time, many younger folks have become involved and this is great news for the sustainability of our liberation movement. I hope younger adults like Tommy-D and Kyle Murphy maintain their commitment to our movement as they are our future.

Special thanks must go out to Pride President, John Boychuk, who over his terms, has demonstrated respect for the differing visions and many opinions. Mr. Boychuk has been a steady, calming influence. He has allowed everyone to express their opinions. This strong leadership at a critical time in the PRIDE movement is an example of true leadership. Thank you President Boychuk.

Many prominent citizens have come to the frequent and sometimes lots of conflict meetings. They have given of their time, expertise and knowledge and this has been vitally important to the re-newel of the organization. Jim Deva, Christine Morrisey, Angus Praught, Barb Snelgrove, Shawn Ewing, Steve Snelling, Vince Marino, Janine Fuller, Lee Cassey, Ken Coolen, just to name a few have made sizable contributions. Kudos to these leaders.

Sadly, a number of gay and lesbian politicians rarely turn up for the meetings and this has been duly noticed.

Former gay and lesbian politicians though who have consistently been there for PRIDE are former City Councillor and Pride President, Mr Alan Herbert and former Park board Chair, Laura McDiarmid. In fact, Ms McDiarmid is now the Vice-President of PRIDE and her leadership will be valuable to the continued growth of PRIDE.

Another individual who has been there for all the PRIDE re-organization meetings and deserves special mention is NDP candidate for Vancouver-Centre, Randall Garrison. Mr. Garrison has expressed his opinions when called on, he has been respectful & thoughtful and in my opinion, demonstrates admirable and strong leadership qualities. Accompanying Mr. Garrison and deserving special mention is Raigen D'Angelo who has attended the many special and annual re-organizing meetings of PRIDE.

With one more special meeting left to go, this one on Saturday, January 26, 2008, there is one outstanding piece of business, which if passed, could have serious ramifications for the membership.

The governance committee chaired by Director Ray Lam is recommending that a Senate committee be implemented which would be given enormous and sweeping influence. This committee would have veto power over board decisions and moreover, very troubling is that the proposed senate committee would be appointed by a select group of individuals. They would be insulated from the membership and therefore unaccountable. This proposed clause must be rejected.

So with the re-organizational work nearing completion, many of us are looking forward to another festive Pride season and I believe the re-engagement of the membership affirms an accurate and true record of our pride history which will be on display at the three decades of PRIDE celebrations that we will be celebrating this summer.

Our Pride angels would be proud!

Jamie Lee Hamilton