Overflowing with pride: Pride Week 2012 hits Victoria

Gay, transgender communities still seeking full human rights

Miss Paparazzi Lanza Norris-Jones

Just below the surface of the fun during Pride Week – from a drag baseball game to a parade to a comedy night – will be a very serious message.

Pride 2012 is a week of celebration and pride, helping empower Greater Victoria’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities, as well as generating support for full human rights.

The festivities kick off tomorrow (June 30) with an art walk, parties, a potluck barbecue picnic and a show at Belfry Theatre. More public events are planned for every day of the week, wrapping up with the Victoria Pride Parade and Festival on July 8.

“People tend to listen if it’s interesting,” said Laurissa Chapple, spokesperson for the Victoria Pride Society. “That’s the reality.”

The society organizes many of the Pride events, including the parade – a homegrown, moving ribbon of 100 entrants. Starting at noon, the procession travels down Government Street from Pandora Avenue, eventually winding up at MacDonald Park in James Bay.

Though there have been significant advancements in gay rights over the years in Canada, efforts must continue, Chapple said. People are still fearful of being open about their personal lives, even holding hands with their partner in public. “How often do you hear a woman introduce her wife?” the Victoria resident said.

The gay community is the largest minority demographic in the world, and includes people of all genders, religions, ethnicities and ages, Chapple said.

“It’s not segregated by any one particular thing. It’s how a person loves. It’s unrestricted and undefined. It’s an individual’s ability to love another person.”

For a full event schedule, visit www.victoriapridesociety.org.

emccracken@vicnews.com