Vancouver’s Alternative Pride Adds Even More Diversity and Inclusivity to Pride Week


Image Courtesy of Vancouver Art and Leisure

By Kendell Yan

Queers, straights, and allies rejoice! Vancouver Pride week is about to experience an expansion of the festivities offered in the city by a team of over 100 artists working to make this season as inclusive as ever with the Alternative Pride Festival.

The four-day festival is being run by Vancouver Art and Leisure (VAL), a radical artist-run organization which advocates for cultural agency through non-discriminatory events that enrich the cultural in non-traditional spaces.

“At Alternative Pride you can be yourself,” states creative director Matt Troy. “We foster an environment free from prejudice where people from all walks of life can be proud of who we are.”

Image Courtesy of Vancouver Art and Leisure

Image Courtesy of Vancouver Art and Leisure

Alternative Pride and the team at VAL have a strong vision of the types of community spaces they want to create. “We want to liberate people from all walks of life to be proud of their sexuality and uniqueness, regardless of whatever that may be,” states Troy, “we also have an open dialogue at our events about consent culture and respect for others and yourself. We want to create a space where as a community we take care of each other.”

Alternative Pride runs from August 28th to 31st, and promises a weekend of underground, artist-centric, artist-run, non-binary events with a special emphasis on accessibility, inclusivity, and artistic autonomy.

Image Courtesy of Vancouver Art and Leisure

Image Courtesy of Vancouver Art and Leisure

In keeping with their mission to provide accessibility to events, Alternative offers an access program for members of the community experiencing financial difficulties, reserving 10% of all event ticket profits to allow those with less in their wallets an equal opportunity to celebrate pride. “We want to create socio-economic conditions for artists or all genders and sexualities to grow their art form,” says Troy.

For Troy and the team at VAL, Alternative is entirely about the community, and while the festival is decentralized, they are in total solidarity with the Vancouver Pride Society and other planners throughout the city.

Image Courtesy of Vancouver Art and Leisure

Image Courtesy of Vancouver Art and Leisure

“We have a commitment to fostering artistic leadership among local cultural organizers and event planners.”

This is an opportunity to support a burgeoning community of LGBTQ2+ artists that are following a precedence set by other large metropolitan cities. Alternative’s Trans Pride curator, Quannah Style, has taken a nod from a similar event that happens in Toronto, which Style headlined in 2014. Pride Is For Everyone, a party for everyone, everybody, and every body was originally produced at Seattle Pride 2015 by the Bottom Forty Art collective.

Image Courtesy of Vancouver Art and Leisure

Image Courtesy of Vancouver Art and Leisure

With Alternative Pride, Troy hopes that “Vancouver in particular, and the world, can become more allied, more intersectional, more appreciative of local artists and planners, and open up new spaces to the public.”

“We will always defend the rights of artists to practice and present their craft to the public with unmediated opportunities. It is so important that Vancouver as a city retains its artistic vitality.”


Thursday July 28th, 2016

Trans Pride
Where: Gallery 1965, 1965 Main st, Front Entrance
What: A completely trans-produced artist showcase highlighting trans work in visual, musical, and performance art arenas. Curated by boiculture founder and self-proclaimed androginista, Skylar Love. $10 or donation at the door, 100% of admission proceeds go towards trans artists and performers.
When: 9pm-2am

Friday July 29th, 2016

Elastic Pride
Where: Fortune Project Space, 147 E Pender
What: An all-ages event in collaboration with Elastic Collective, an artist collective for LGBTQ2+ and girl youth in Metro Vancouver. Featuring artwork of all medias, as well as performances, workshops, and talks with Vancouver based queer artists and mentors. This is an important opportunity for the next generation to actively participate in Pride. $5 recommendation or pay-what-you-can.
When: 2-9pm

Pride is for Everyone
Where: Vancouver Art and Leisure, 1965 Main st, Backdoor Entrance
What: Back for round two, Pride is for Everyone is a party you don’t want to miss! A safe and private space (emphasis on safe) for everybody and every body, featuring three sound stages, curated rooms, art installations, drag performances, kink, fetish, and inclusivity on a dance floor laid with love. $20 for everyone, advance or at the door.
When: 10pm-late

Image Courtesy of Vancouver Art and Leisure

Image Courtesy of Vancouver Art and Leisure

Prancehall II: Pride
Where: Fortune Project Space, 147 E Pender
What: Hot on the heels of the success of Western Canada’s first ever LGBTQ dancehall night, Prancehall II: Pride is back to reclaim Dancehall, an art form that has predominately perpetuated homo/transphobic language. Featuring riddims and beats by Skylar Love and Battiboiz (Marcus Marshall & Chase Porter). Tickets are $15.
When: 10pm-2am

Saturday July 30th, 2016

The Downlow: Mask for Mask Masquerade Ball
Where: 1022 Davie st, Basement
What: “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth.” Come get Wilde, weird, and anonymous at this massive masquerade ball in the basement of Celebrities in the heart of the Davie Village. Everyone welcome as long as you’ve got a mask.
When: 10pm-4am

Sunday July 31st, 2016

Backdoor Pride Edition
Where: Address TBA
What: The legendary pop-up party is back for another steamy once-in-a-lifetime queer dance extravanganza! Backdoor’s M.O. is turning unconventional spaces, from warehouses to repair shops to storage lockers, and transforming them into truly mesmerizing spectacles of decadence open to all types of expression. Backdoor Pride Edition will be hosted at The Villa, a historic ship-building warehouse, fitted with stone fireplaces, marble floors, a spiralling staircase, and a massive patio overlooking Vancouver’s shipping docks. Get intimate, get wild. $25 Early, $30 General, $40 Late. Tickets on sale July 18th.
When: 10pm-late

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