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How To Support Pride This Summer Without Rainbow Washing

With June upon us, summer Pride is once again in full swing. And thus far, it’s been rewarding to see.

Last year we didn’t see big street celebrations in our city (or anywhere else for that matter) but Pride was still very much alive without all the hoopla. Instead, queer people hosted small gatherings, marched through their suburban streets and shared their lived experiences on TikTok, Instagram and the like.

And it looks like we’re seeing much of the same trend this year.

With that in mind, if you’re looking to donate or buy merchandise to support Pride this summer, try to stay away from rainbow-washing. To get straight to the point, large companies that pop up with Pride merchandise every summer may not have the community’s best interests at heart. Sad as it is, some corporations go so far as to capitalize on Pride while supporting anti-2SLGBTQ+ policy behind the scenes. You can learn more about that here.

All this aside, if you want to show your support for the queer community in Vancouver here are 4 simple things you can do (with and without money):

Shop Local Stores

Looking to discover a local queer haunt? Little Sisters is a 2SLGBTQ+ store downtown that’s part of the heart of the Davie village community. They sell everything from gender affirming clothing, sex toys, and new and used books. They even have a DJ who shows up and blasts music outside their storefront! Fun fact: the store survived two bombings back in the ‘90s and is still going strong. Here’s a great resource to find more Vancouver queer businesses to support.

Buy 2SLGBTQ+ Books

Whether online or in store, buying fiction and nonfiction by 2SLGBTQ+ authors is a great way to support the community at large. What’s on my bookshelf right now? Non-Binary Lives: An Anthology of Intersecting Identities. And where did I happen upon this collection of lived experiences? None other than Little Sisters. 

Volunteer at Community Organizations

Wondering where to find a list of 2SLGBTQ+ groups to support in Vancouver? Lucky for you, here’s a well-rounded one to get you started! I’m talking everything from HIV/AIDS, inner city education and even refugee support operations that are doing amazing work right under our noses. My personal favourite organization is UNYA’s 2-Spirit Collective – a resource centre for 2SLGBTQ+ Indigenous youth that offers a variety of programs and services. Check them out if you like – June is also National Indigenous History Month, so supporting 2-Spirit organizations is a great way to make sure you’re uplifting marginalized folks.

Get Involved at SFU

Sometimes the best place to find queer connection is the smallest place. In that case, look no further than our very own university. SFU’s Out On Campus is the hub of all things queer for our student body. They regularly host events for queer students and allies where you can show support, and provide safe spaces and resources for 2SLGBTQ+ students.

And now for some parting advice: if the above tips are old news to you, stay on the lookout for new events and groups in your area! In fact, here’s one to get you started: check out SFU’s brand new queer publication group: we were here (we were queer). Wwhwwq is about to publish their first free online zine just in time for Pride, and this project is loaded with lived experiences expressed in poems, prose and musical verse. Sounds interesting? Come check it out our free virtual launch party and open mic event on Friday, June 25  at 6 pm.

Sydney (she/her or they/them) is a Psychology Major at SFU with a focus in Behavioral Neuroscience. She is passionate about women's physical and mental health and LGBTQ+ issues. In her free time, she is a classical musician and avid long distance runner.
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