If you’re older than I am, you might remember a time when Pride was just one day. At some point (I’m not sure when), the annual commemoration of Stonewall and the fight for gay rights morphed into an occasionally exhausting month-long entertainment extravaganza. Buddies recently announced the programming for its annual Queer Pride, and Xtra caught up with artistic director Brendan Healy to talk about what’s on the table and how to get through it all alive.
Xtra: What were you looking for in programming this year’s event?
Brendan Healy: We wanted to involve as many facets of the community as possible and show the incredible range of performance styles, including comedy, drag and burlesque, as well as performers like Sharron Matthews, Gavin Crawford, Miss Conception and the B-Girlz. We’re also showcasing some excellent queer theatre, including The Queer Bathroom Stories and Unsex’d. Because it’s WorldPride, we wanted an international perspective, and we’re particularly excited to present Sarah Schulman’s The Lady Hamlet and Just Me, You and the Silence, by Ugandan writer Adong Lucy Judith, about the harsh anti-gay laws dividing her country. And of course, there’s a chance to party, with events like The Bizarre Ball and a special Pride edition of the Butch Femme Salon.
Buddies has for several years labelled its Pride events as “Queer Pride” rather than “gay Pride.” Beyond being a month-long celebration of queer culture, what does Queer Pride mean to you?
We gravitate towards the word “queer” because we feel that it better encapsulates the spectrum of identities that make up our community. It’s a word that’s inclusive and defies a specific definition. It’s fluid, slippery and allows for questions, deviations and contradictions within one’s identity. Queer Pride is about celebrating all the ways each of us is unique and complex in our sexualities, genders and identities.
Any tips for audiences to make the most of it without being exhausted?
Drink lots of fluids, take frequent naps and surround yourself with love.