Vancouver Gears up for the 2011 North America Outgames: July 25-31

Opening Ceremony - World Outgames 2009

The countdown begins.  The largest LGBT sporting event of 2011 will descend on Vancouver next month, when 3,000 athletes come to town to participate in 18 different sports as part of the North America Outgames.

Started in 2006 to celebrate LGBT athletes and culture, the Outgames are open to all participants, regardless of sexual orientation.  Anyone can take part, regardless of experience, and competitions are arranged according to skill level.

Sports range from traditional activities, including softball, swimming, tennis and track and field, to less conventional offerings, such as dragon boat racing, ten-pin bowling and poker.  There’s even a 4-kilometer recreational walk planned in picturesque Stanley Park.   Early bird registration for athletes is going on now, with entry fees as low as $15.

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Vancouver Gears up for the 2011 North America Outgames: July 25-31

Playing with Pride: Vancouver gears up for North America OutGames

Last year, the eyes of the world were on Vancouver for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.  This summer, the city will once again be in the sporting spotlight, as host of the 2011 North America OutGames.

From July 25-31, up to 4,000 LGBT and queer-friendly participants from around the world are expected to converge on the city for a week of athletic competition, workshops and conferences.   Among the 18 different sports open to competitors are familiar favorites like badminton, volleyball, swimming, tennis and softball.  But there will also be a range of less conventional offerings, from poker and dragon boat racing to bowling and a full alpine marathon in Whistler.

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Playing with Pride: Vancouver gears up for North America OutGames

Vancouver’s Gay Top Model finals – April 23

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Mirateca.com by Daniel JollyConner is a 26-year-old originally from Korea with a clean-cut look and  brown eyes.  Rory is a lean and lanky 19-year-old of Cambodian heritage. Kolin is a long-haired 26-year-old from Vancouver with a fondness for piercings.

They, along with seven other contestants, are vying for the coveted title of Vancouver’s Gay Top Model 2011.  Loosely based on the reality TV modeling show hosted by Tyra Banks, the annual competition brings together the city’s premier gay talent to face off for a chance to gain professional modeling experience.

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Vancouver’s Gay Top Model finals – April 23

WinterPride Returns to BC

Every summer, Vancouver plays host to the largest – and probably the most fun – pride parade in Western Canada.  More than 650,000 people turned out for last year’s weekend-long festival, which included street parties on Davie Street, themed celebrations and, of course, one unforgettable parade through downtown.

Many people don’t realize, however, that B.C. also plays host to an internationally recognized and exceedingly popular winter event aimed at the LGBT community.  This year marks the 19th installment of WinterPride – a weeklong ski festival in Whistler.   The fun starts this year on Jan. 30 and runs through Feb. 6.

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WinterPride Returns to BC

Queer Film Festival: Aug. 12-22

Home to a thriving LGBT community and western Canada’s biggest Pride parade, Vancouver has a justly deserved reputation for celebrating difference.   Among the year’s most vibrant expressions of this ethos is the annual Queer Film Festival, which this year runs from Thursday, Aug. 12, to Sunday, Aug. 22.

The festival celebrates the best of independent queer cinema from around the world and represents the largest queer arts exhibition in western Canada.  This year more than 90 films from a dozen different countries will be featured, highlighting contemporary LGBT issues and progressive, cutting-edge cinema.   Films are shown in venues around the city, including Cinemark Tinseltown, Empire Granville 7 Cinemas, Emily Carr University, Vancity Theatre and the Roundhouse Centre.

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Queer Film Festival: Aug. 12-22

Vancouver Queer Film Festival August 13 – 23

vqff09
The 21st annual Vancouver Queer Film Festival starts today, August 13, kicking off eleven days of independent queer cinema, parties and galas. The opening gala happens tonight–just $5 general admission–at Celebrities, Vancouver’s most famous gay nightclub.

This year’s Festival features 71 films from around the world that explore queer youth, queer history, the queer Asian experience, and “queer champions of hope .”

Queer youth is a particular focus this year; 22 of the films are classified as appropriate for viewers under 18, and there’s a Youth Gala Party on Friday, August 14 to celebrate youth-made film, art and performance.

Tickets are just $10 per showing, $7 for students and seniors.

For complete film and party schedules, check out the Vancouver Queer Film Festival’s official site.