Statement Re: Decision to Avoid Participating in the Victoria Pride Festival in 2017

This summer the UVic Pride Collective has decided to avoid participating in the Victoria Pride Festival despite our previous involvement in these events. In previous years we have chosen to table at the event to inform communities that might feel unwelcome in Victoria Pride events that there are alternative services, resources, and spaces that advocate for their needs and concerns. We treated the festival as a means to reach out and show support and solidarity for communities that are often excluded or erased from the mainstream Pride movement.

Unfortunately, the mainstream Pride movement has issues with colonialism, racism, and an association with corporate capitalism and nationalism. This can be seen most abundantly with the Victoria and Vancouver Pride societies’ decisions to continue including institutions such as banks and the police despite the violence and oppression these institutions inherently represent to many marginalized communities. This argument of inclusion is a falsehood because it ignores the fact that the presence of these institutions in Pride inherently exclude identities that have experienced violence as a direct result of their decisions and behaviours.

The mainstream Pride movement has also become a space in which white, able-bodied, neurotypical, middle-class/upper-class, and cisgender homosexual men are represented as the default and most acceptable queer identity. This ignores the realities and experiences of marginalized communities such as those who are IBPOC, trans and gender-variant, low-income, neurodivergent, disabled, intersex, etc. In privileging whiteness, cisnormativity, and other systemic imbalances, the mainstream Pride movement also ignores the realities and experiences of substance users and sex workers who are criminalized through extreme police violence and social policies that isolate them from valuable services and resources.

UVic Pride has decided against participating this year because our presence at the event signifies that we endorse these decisions from the Victoria Pride Society and their continued exclusionary behaviours, when the reality is that we stand in opposition to these decisions and have an obligation and responsibility to stand in solidarity with marginalized communities. To better serve and represent their communities, we encourage the Victoria Pride Society to reflect on these issues and hold themselves accountable to these behaviours and actions.

The UVic Pride Collective