Saturday, February 28, 2009


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


It is with interest that current Pride President Ken Coolen seems to gloss over Pride finances and reduced sponsorship and even more troubling, he doesn't forsee any economic problems regarding this year's Pride season.

Mr Coolen needs to wake up. He surely must understand that PRIDE has become totally reliant on the Corporate sector. The economic recession means the first thing these Corporations do is curtail their discretionary spending. In fact, the Pride sponsorship contractor has said that Sponsorship is down this year by about 25-30 percent and she goes on to say that Pride is in a tough bind.

President Coolen goes on to say that business at clubs, restaurants and stores isn't any slower and than to find that silver lining, he draws our attention to WinterPride of which he is co-owner claiming Winterpride had a slight increase in revenues this year. WinterPride is a party and relies heavily on party-goers and the circuit crowd who max out their credit cards and everything else in order to party.
Comparing this Party to Pride is a dumb comparison.

PRIDE is a liberation movement which showcases our history & strengths and celebrates our communities. Sure there are parties happening during the Pride season but to suggest that PRIDE is like Winterpride is really odd. I for one seriously hope that Pride doesn't run into financial troubles but truthfully it has the potential to and the GLBT community needs to wake up to this possibility.

The economics of Pride being so tightly connected to the Corporate sector raises alarm bells. As many of us have been stating over the last number of years, Pride is relying far too much on the Corporate sector and this year especially if this bites us in the ass, this will force our community once and for all to seriously consider decreasing our ties to the corporate sector and get back to the true meaning, observations and celebrations of Pride.

Jamie Lee Hamilton


At 5:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all due respect JL, I think you also need to wake up and realize that with half a million in attendance, Pride is too big to continue without the corporate presence. I suspect your response will be that Pride should downsize, but I believe that is the worst thing that the organization could do at this time. Vancouver Pride is the biggest and - arguably - best celebration of any kind in Western Canada and reaches out to so many different people and communities. Especially this year with the cancellation of the Celebration of Light, Pride is needed more than ever to prove that there is some light in the economic darkness, so-to-speak. To downsize now would only serve to prove that there is no hope for community festivals and events in Vancouver. I dare say that Pride acts as an example for many of the smaller events.

The point is, although I too am concerned about the attitude of some Directors regarding Pride finances, it is still very early in the game and I believe it's too early to be making assumptions about the future of Pride. I have been privy to the struggles of the Board in the past, but I have heard nothing but great things about the new Board. In fact, I have heard that it is the first cohesive Pride Board in recent history. As a members of Pride, I voted at the AGM for this Board, and in the process gave them my trust that they would get the job done.

I continually see a division in the Pride community; on one side are the group that believe Pride has lost touch with its origin as a grassroots human rights movement, and the other side believes that the immense growth of Pride is part of the natural evolution of the LGBT community. I am personally part of the latter, but I understand and appreciate the arguments of the former. Perhaps the solution is to divide Pride into two groups - one is a new education and liberation group, and the other is a celebration group that continues the current state of the organization. Just a thought.

At 5:19 PM, Blogger Jamie Lee Hamilton said...

Hi Anonymous. I understand your points and with all due respect the question becomes what are we celebrating? Are we celebrating our lives and histories or are we celebrating the Corporate Sector which now fund the entire celebration?

I believe the time is now ripe to have this necessary dialogue.

Thanks for your post Anonymous and putting forth your ideas.

At 1:52 PM, Blogger Jamie Lee Hamilton said...

Hi Anonymous

Sorry I missed your point about this year's PRIDE board being a lot more cohesive. I would disagree seeing since their installment in November already 4 board resignations have accurred including the Treasurer position. Rumour is wildly circulating that there is a push to get rid of another Executive Officer of the board. Hm and you call that cohesion?


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