Capital Pride (CP) organizers are encouraging Ottawa’s gay community to “be loud, be proud” at this year’s upcoming celebrations, Aug 16 to 25.
CP chair Micheal Lafontaine says that this year, more than 30 groups from the Ottawa area will host more than 75 events.
The CP board took a different approach to the naming of a grand marshal this year. By combining the singular marshal and CP partnership awards, 2013 will see five marshals celebrated at the festival, nominated by members of Ottawa’s queer community.
Jamaican-born activist and now Toronto resident Maurice Tomlinson is the international grand marshal. Community members appointed Bruce House’s Jay Koornstra this year’s grand marshal, Gender Mosaic’s Amanda Ryan the lifetime-achievement marshal, Michael Tattersall the community marshal, and Erica Butler the youth marshal.
The 2013 festivities will also see the addition of a VIP area, a karaoke stage and an expanded family section on the festival grounds at city hall’s Marion Dewar Plaza, where parents can leave their children supervised.
The expanded family section is the brainchild of Hannah Watt, the youngest CP board member ever, who also runs CP Youth, now renamed Et Cetera.
The name change to something vaguer is a conscious decision, Watt says.
“The name Et Cetera came about at one of our committee meetings,” she explains. “We weren’t sure if some people would be comfortable getting permission waivers signed by their parents if it said Capital Pride on it, if they weren’t out. We wanted something a little bit less obvious.”
When a committee member rattled off the many letters that make up the queer acronym, they ended with “et cetera,” and Watt said the moniker perfectly embodies today’s queer and allied youth.
“We want to make safer space where you can be whatever it is you are or are becoming,” Watt says.
The festival grounds will also see a diverse range of performers on CP’s closing day. Rock band The Cliks, featuring trans musician Lucas Silveira, headlines the festival, followed by trans Nebraskan Brody Ray Runge.
Toronto performer and Xtra contributor Ryan G Hinds will bring his dramatic cabaret to city hall, and there’s plenty of local erotic talent to catch, too. Miss Helvetica Bold’s Hoser Burlesque takes centre stage at 8pm, and Toronto’s all-male burlesque group Boylesque TO will perform twice.
Paul Morneau, of Ottawa Paramedic Service, also invited community members to join the flag-raising convoy, Aug 19, on an OC Transpo bus that will travel between locations.
The first flag will be raised at Ottawa police headquarters, with a pancake breakfast fundraiser for Gender Mosaic. The final stop is at city hall. The caravan will also make stops at the headquarters of OC Transpo, By-Law Services, Ottawa Paramedic Service and Ottawa Fire Services.
Kitchissippi Ward's Councillor Katherine Hobbs spoke on behalf of Mayor Jim Watson at CP’s media launch and wore “loud” shoes in keeping with CP’s theme.
“The festival is important to our city, as it contributes to the empowerment of Ottawa’s LGBT community and it helps develop the spirit of Pride in our region,” Hobbs said. “The festival also helps create visibility for the LGBT community. The City of Ottawa is committed to build a city for everyone.”
For the complete list of Capital Pride events, look for the Ultimate Pride Guide, released with the Aug 15 edition of Xtra Ottawa.