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GayCalgary® Magazine

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Pride 2010

20 Years of (R)Evolution

Community Event by Evan Kayne (From GayCalgary® Magazine, August 2010, page 24)
Pride 2009
Pride 2009
Image by: Steve Polyak and Rob Diaz-Marino
Pride 2009
Pride 2009
Image by: Steve Polyak and Rob Diaz-Marino
Pride 2009
Pride 2009
Image by: Steve Polyak and Rob Diaz-Marino
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This year marks the 20th Anniversary of Pride celebrations in Calgary, and to some it may be hard to believe at Calgary’s first Pride rally in 1990, people still felt the need to wear disguises; or that in Alberta, employers could fire someone based on their sexual orientation; or that gay marriage was considered a fanciful dream for a distant future.
Sam Casselman, current President of the Pride Calgary planning committee, told us this year’s Pride will celebrate what we have accomplished, but also remind all there is still a lot of inequality to overcome. The poster for the Pride Dance is titled “20 years of (R)evolution” a nod to both the changes we’ve fought for, and the changes society has grown into.
Change also came to Pride Calgary this year as they took at big step (thanks to the generous donation of time and talent from Parallel Productions) and have published Calgary’s own Pride Guide pamphlet included exclusively in this month’s edition of Gay Calgary and Edmonton Magazine. This move shows Calgary getting up to par with some of the larger Pride societies in Canada, who do their guides in a similar fashion. Calgary’s guide will include event details, sponsor ads, and just as importantly, a look at the history of Pride.
“A lot of times people think we’re moving past that, and we’re just being about the party...we really want people to know we remember,” says Casselman. Granted, she admits, “the most important things are of course the three main events” - The Pride Dance September 4th, and the Parade and Festival September 5th.
This year’s Pride Dance is being held downtown at Spur nightclub. Thanks to PennyLane Entertainment Group who sponsored last year’s venue, Pride Calgary once again has a space for free. Size-wise, it is comparable to Belgo from last year, especially considering Spur shares the bay with the Italian Kitchen. “We’re actually going to take over both sides,” Casselman told us. She also assured us that they have taken steps to ensure last year’s sound problems will not be the case this year; which is vital since the dance is featuring the amazing DJ Lisa DeLux from Vancouver.
Regarding ticket purchases, Sam recommends that attendees buy them online at www.pridecalgary.ca – not only to save money (tickets are $20 on the website, and $25 at the door) but also to ensure you get one, as last year’s dance came very close to selling out.
Sunday September 5th starts off with the raising of the Pride Flag at City Hall, now for the second year in a row. But something new this year was the selection process for the Parade Marshal. The Pride Calgary planning committee surveyed the community for input into their choice for Marshal, and local musician Toni Vere won out. “I think it was really good we stayed local and we picked someone who’s here...and is queer.”
As in the last few years, the parade starts at noon on 8th Ave and 8th Street SW and moves down Stephen Avenue to Olympic Plaza. The committee has responded to public input and are slowing the pace of the Parade. They’ve also encouraged parade participants to have music or make more noise as they interact with people along the parade route. Additionally, volunteers will be marching with signs denoting countries were homosexuality is still illegal, so people remember that the fight for our rights is still ongoing.
At the Pride Festival in Olympic Plaza, it will be much the same as in previous years. They have increased the capacity of the Beer Gardens, and have also improved the sound quality – especially important since this year they’ve upped the music content and reduced the number of speeches. Other areas such vendor tables and the Kids play area will again return.
Finally, the committee also networked with community organizations and created a “Pride Week” of events running September 1-11. Community groups such as Apollo and Miscellaneous Youth (among others) were invited to include details of their own events in the Pride Guide.
Now there’s the part where you come in: go out, celebrate what we have accomplished, the freedoms we have won, the friends we’ve made, and the progress of society.  Have a safe and fun Pride!

(GC)

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