Pride has been a grand event in Toronto for as long as I’ve been able to attend, but this year Toronto is hosting World Pride from June 20-29, and about two million people are expected to attend. The expensive event lineup including galas with $1,000 seat tickets has me a bit overwhelmed with my tight student budget, so I’ve started planning early. So, I’ve decided to share (particularly for the budget-minded) some of what I’m looking forward to:
First off, the University of Toronto Pride Pub! As a student at U of T, I always love campus events, particularly the ones that get queer students together. Don’t be confused by the Pride Pub name; this event starts out somewhat like a barbeque and then turns into an awesome outdoor dance party. I’ve attended this event in the past, and from my experience it has always been very well organized. The event takes place in the internal courtyard of Hart House, and if it’s anything like years’ past the drinks are very reasonably priced. It’s student-centered but not exclusive, and definitely worth checking out!
Pride Pub this year the event is happening in conjunction with the U of T Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies’ World Pride Human Rights Conference – another worthwhile event happening on campus from June 25-27. I won’t be able to make it but I’m under the impression it’s going to be well-attended by an outstanding spectrum of international human rights workers, academics, and activists.
Barbeques! No, there’s not an event called barbeques, but host one or go to one if you can! I’ve already got a couple of barbeque events in my calendar and they’re always the most fun! Get together queer people and allies for sunshine, alcohol (for those of us who drink), and tasty barbequed goodies! As a vegetarian it’s a bit ironic that I’m pro-barbeque, but I’m a sucker for the barbequed corn cobs and veggie burgers!
Nuit Rose! An overnight queer art festival reminiscent of the fall Nuit Blanche (only better). It’s happening the night of June 21st from 7pm to 4am. One of my friends is going to be presenting some work, which of course means the entire event will be outstanding! Plus, it’s free! Yay student budget!
Hanlan’s! Now, Hanlan’s is basically celebrating pride from mid-May to September, but the crowd is typically a bit extra fun during pride, so I’ll definitely be finding myself out there for an afternoon or two!
The AIDS Vigil. Happening June 24th, I haven’t yet decided yet if I’ll be there this year. It’s not a lighthearted event in the least, and definitely worth attending at least once. The event is very historically reflective and hasn’t traditionally incorporated much focus on current lived issues of people living with HIV. As a gay man that was diagnosed HIV-positive less than a year ago, I’m not sure if attending this year will resonate well with the current relationship I have with HIV/AIDS. That said, I did appreciate the event when I’ve attended in the past, so I do recommend it for the curious looking to remember historical loss and people who’ve died of AIDS-related illnesses.
The parade! You know, I’ve never actually marched in a pride parade before. Maybe I’ll do that this year! Who wants to invite me to join their group or float? Regarding the whole phenomenon of corporate sponsorship: something about the massive amounts of advertising leaves a lube-y taste in my mouth, yet I still think showing up for this event is important. For me it feels sort of like voting with my body. Particularly with all of the current LGBT-related human rights violations happening around the world it’s important to claim our sliver of queer representation.
That’s basically about all my budget can handle for this World Pride, but I’m sure it’ll be a fabulously queer time filled with shenanigans! Looking forward to seeing everyone in Toronto for World Pride! I welcome anyone who has further pride event ideas for the budget-conscious to post in the comments. Also, for those who won’t make it to Toronto Pride, I hope your summer is fabulous and you enjoy a bit of sunshine!