Coquitlam will make good on a promise to Dr. Charles Best Secondary students in the school's Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA) to pilot a Pride party.
In February, GSA members came before council-in-committee to ask the city to raise the Pride flag in June and to host a Pride event(s) this summer.
Their requests came a month after several protesters stood outside the Coquitlam Public Library's City Centre branch to oppose a drag queen story time for families.
On Monday (April 17), the committee unanimously OK'd a move by city staff to piggyback on a planned performance at the Evergreen Cultural Centre.
On July 15, the City Centre arts hub will host Cirque de Coquitlam – a Drag Circus! that will be followed by a ticketed after-party in the rehearsal hall.
During the day, the Evergreen lobby will be open to the public to take part in free activities and see the displays from three cultural groups that also receive municipal funding:
- Place des Arts
- Coquitlam Heritage
- Coquitlam Public Library
Lanny Englund, Coquitlam's general manager of parks, recreation, culture and facilities, said there wasn't a lot of time to organize the inaugural celebration; however, he hopes community groups will step forward to lead next year's Pride event.
For the 2023 festivities, the city is contributing $6,000 in honorariums, marketing, security and administration, Englund told the committee.
"This is important that we do this," said Coun. Matt Djonlic, the committee chair for April, noting the vitriol that the LGBTQ2S+ community faces.
"It is unfortunate that we've seen it here."
Couns. Robert Mazzarolo and Steve Kim also praised municipal staff and cultural groups for the quick turnaround to organize the Pride event on July 15.
"The Pride event was conceived by Evergreen Cultural Centre staff, who were inspired by the presentation to council by Dr. Charles Best Secondary’s Gay/Straight Alliance," said Jessica Fowlis, Evergreen's marketing manager, in an email to the Tri-City News.
"It is being developed in conjunction with the city and its cultural partners and is being built around our pre-existing event, Cirque du Coquitlam - A Drag Circus! which was our inspiration for the idea."
Meanwhile, this month, the city launched its Coquitlam Champions Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) campaign that includes street banners, decals and public-facing communications; in June, for Pride Month, the city will be decorated with Pride street and park banners.
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