9 min

Glitter and grace

Pride memories, meanings and mayhem

Credit: Joshua McVeity

The first couple of East Van, Isolde N Barron and Peach Cobblah, are going to reign — then fall down shitfaced — in all their sequined glory this Pride season.

On what Pride means:

Isolde: Glitter in my vodka!

Peach: We are fighters, we are in many cases survivors, and if we’re not going to pat ourselves on the back and stand strong, who in the hell is going to do that for us? Can I get an amen up in here?

On Pride insanity:

Isolde: I was a bird in a cage once to advertise a play I was working on. I was in face and drunk the night before — bad idea — and therefore was tired and hung-over putting face on early for the start of the parade. It was the closest I’ve come to a panic attack trying to get my ass ready and at my float in time.

I was so relieved I decided to celebrate by sending our float walkers to grab me booze as we passed a liquor store, which I proceeded to drink like water in the hot sun for the entire parade.

I then drank more at the Playhouse shop after the parade and blacked out, coming to later at 1181 (across town from where I last remember drinking) with a quiche in my hand that I had apparently purchased and was offering the room, still in my full bird costume.

I blacked out again and came to with Brandon Gaukel — bless his soul — taking my eyelashes off and putting me to bed for three hours before I had to wake up again and put another face on to perform at Queer Bash!

I can honestly say that nothing entertains me more than small dogs dressed up in rainbow colours. That embarrassment and secret delight in their eyes. But the drag and booze marathon that will be Pride weekend is probably crazy — why are we throwing so many parties, and why do so many of them involve being in dresses?

Well, that and cramming three drag queens and two gays in a tiny East Van apartment; that’s probably wild, crazy and hilarious. It’s like the new two girls, one cup, except with far more glitter.

On Pride regrets:

Isolde: Darling, I regret nothing! Except not taking advantage of you that one night you spent under my roof!

On Pride tips:

Peach: Drink lots of water, wear little clothing and make out with a stranger. Especially if his name is Raziel.

On parts of the world where Pride is illegal or met with protest:

Isolde: We only ever get what we fight for. As drunken and debauched as we all get at Pride, we must always remember the people who have fought for us.

Peach: Our biggest weapon in the fight for equality is visibility. If they can’t see us, it’s easy for them to think we don’t exist. But we do. I’ve always admired that wherever we travel in the world, Isolde always holds my hand in public. Always.

And though we get a few looks, it’s part of that normalizing process — check it out, world, we are two homos who love each other, and we don’t give two fucks whether you like it, but you’ll at least see that we’re here. Coming together is key.

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Funny lady Amy Wilding may be sober and vegan, but she certainly isn’t boring. Or at least her Pride memories from when she was a drunk carnivore aren’t . . .

On Pride romantic-fling fucks:

I love that phrase “romantic-fling fuck!” Can I use that one? My nickname used to be the Kissing Bandit. Used to be! So there was a lot of romancing and flinging and a bit of fucking. Instead of a lemonade stand, I had a kissing booth. There just wasn’t a booth and there was no charge. Looking back on those slutty kissing days, if I had charged per kiss, I would be a millionaire! Girls, boys, girls and boys — I kissed them all. I have calmed down a lot over the years. Handed my title on. Now there is someone more deserving running around living up to the legacy I left behind.

On foreskin and grapes:

Last Pride, we were at the Davie St parade and decided to go into this tent, because there was a hot “nurse” standing outside telling us we should go in.

The tent held about 20 people — it was small and cramped and full of about 18 lezzies. And let’s not forget the two gay guys, half confused, half excited, looking around, like, What kind of gross lady-bits talk is this going to be? And is there still time to make a run for it?

There was a very small stage at the front. All of a sudden this guy is standing in front of us wearing only a T-shirt that says “I heart my foreskin” and no pants. What we didn’t know yet: he had just shoved 19 seedless red grapes up his foreskin. With his hands on his hips and his manhood thrust forward, he asked us how many seedless red grapes we thought he had shoved up his foreskin. I have never seen more lesbians look all kinds of horrified and curious at the same time.

The two guys had their heads cocked at a 90-degree angle from start to finish of the presentation. And what kind of presentation is this? We had been seduced into the Foreskin Awareness booth! While we watched him push each grape out, he had one of my friends sitting in the front row count them as they dropped into a Tupperware container. I have not been able to eat seedless red grapes since!

But I must say, a very informative presentation on why we should just let guys keep their foreskin, including an up-close-and-personal look at how easy it is to keep it clean. I had no idea how easy it can be! I left that presentation a whole lot gayer and knowing way more about foreskin than I ever thought one could.

On Pride advice:

Don’t eat any fruit without washing it first.

* * *

Pride is an extra special time for our coverboy Roger Chin, not only as a celebration, but as the anniversary of meeting his fiancé. Their relationship embodies the true essence of Pride — making the love experienced during the week-long commemoration last all year round.

On what Pride is:

It was originally a protest. Now, here, it’s morphed into a celebration, and some people might say it’s gotten really commercial. I even had a woman tell me there are too many causes! But the thing is, when you look at the past, it was all a cause. There may be many, but I like to think they’re multiple facets of the same thing.

On finding love at Pride:

My fiancé, Jim, and I met at Pride in 2007. That’s why we have the Celebrate Queer Vancouver plaque outside Little Sister’s. We were kind of late getting to the parade, so the only way for us to see was to stand on a fire hydrant together!

On keeping Pride alive:

It’s one of those things where it has to be ongoing throughout the year. It’s not just this one thing during the year that you kind of build up to. It’s kind of like at Christmastime, when people say you should donate to charity; you know, those people are still in need the rest of the year. And people are still in need of Pride, for that self-esteem, that self-worth; people still need to build themselves up, and they still need to build their communities the rest of the year.

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DJ Kasey Riot gets Davie Village Dirty every Thursday night at The Junction, and you better believe she’s bringing the beat to this year’s Pride.

On her first Pride:

I was topless on a balcony during the parade on Beach Ave squirting girls with a water gun. I definitely felt liberated, if you know what I mean. Most memorable moment was probably seeing Chicks on Speed live at The Anza Club. It was the sweatiest, hottest, underground lesbian party I’ve ever been to.

On her wildest Pride memory:

One night at the end of a party we broke into the Second Beach Pool and skinny-dipped till the sun came up. The best part was that the security guard didn’t even care as long as he could watch!

On Pride ingenues:

Drink as much water as you humanly can, all day, every day. This will keep your stamina up and prevent you from passing out during a good party. Be prepared to get groped — a lot. Take it as a compliment, but start politely dancing away if you’re not interested. And finally, a disco nap between parties is essential.

* * *

You can often find Cadence Winter Matthews and Quanah Style partying the night away in our Village, and this Pride will be no exception. Only they won’t just be partying the night away — they wouldn’t want the morning and afternoon to feel left out!

On Pride bravery:

Cadence: It doesn’t matter if you’re gay, straight, black, white, big, little, whatever — you need to live with honesty and courage. Walking down the street with whatever crazy ensemble makes you feel good, despite whatever looks or whispers may result from it. Refusing to apologize for who or what you are. Celebrating your own uniqueness every day of your life and doing whatever you can to ignore those negative, self-deprecating voices in your head that we all have. To me, that’s what Pride is. It’s having guts and not taking anything seriously except yourself and what you stand for.

On Pride romances:

Quanah: I wouldn’t use the term “romance” so much as sex in an alley …

On their first time:

My first Pride was almost by accident. I tentatively thought about going to check it out, ran into a friend on the bus to downtown, and swindled her into joining me. We took about a million photos with total strangers. We were 100 percent sober. We stayed for a few hours and went back home. I had a blast. I just remember feeling almost as though I could cry over how much love and joy was in the air.

I remember my mom taking me to my first Pride and being so wide-eyed, coming from a small town and all. I remember thinking, “I can’t wait to be one of those sluts!” and now here I am. My favourite part is that my mom’s coming this year, too!

On their ultimate Pride mayhem:

Cadence: Last year a good friend of mine and I were dancing on a float for a nightclub. We hadn’t even thought about bed or sleep since the night before, but we showed up, got our shit together, shotgunned 12 beer between the two of us at 8:30am and proceeded to dance our asses off in the blazing heat for the next few hours.

Quanah: Now that’s a hard question because Pride gets so crazy! Maybe once upon a time, many moons ago, when I pulled some straight-up Courtney Love shit, stumbled onstage at Spit trashed, and forgot my words, then took off my clothes . . . shameless.

On haters:

Cadence: We have a voice, and a loud one at that. We’re also notoriously good at getting attention. We need to use that to grab the rest of society by the balls and make sure they walk away knowing that we won’t be disrespected, we won’t be abused, and we won’t be ignored.

Quanah: I say to hell with those small-minded buzz-kills. Cheers to the queers!

* * *

You can always find Del Stamp on Davie! He works so hard; he has two full-time jobs, at Priape and Numbers, and still manages to throw a party or two, like the Hard party.

On what Pride means:

Pride is a complete celebration of who we are and what we’ve accomplished since Stonewall. It’s a celebration of us being ourselves. Whether gay, bi, trans, straight — just celebrating who you are or who you want to be.

On his best Pride memory:

During the Sunset Beach festival, myself and a couple of my close friends, we were just turning it out for a solid three hours. It was so much fun! Everyone who was down there, honest to god, probably thought we were like, mangled. They were just standing there, and we were giving it. No one else, just us! It was perfect.

On ‘straight’ venues hosting queer parties:

I’m gonna check out the Ruff party at Vinyl, which is a new venue that will be used by the gays this year. I love it; they’re just supporting the community. Whatever about the club!

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Mikael Skold is a self-professed “trans fag,” and this season, he’s helping the trans community regain control of Pride’s reins.

On Genderfest:

Basically, there’s a lot of commercial Pride going on, and [organizer] Pussy Liquor wanted to do something that was more queer vibe and not so much commercial Pride and wanted to do something that didn’t involve people outside of our community.

On a Pride moment he’ll never forget:

It was my first year being publicly out as trans, and I decided I was going to walk the parade with no shirt on, which was a big deal because I still had breasts. And I was like, you know what? I’m just going to write “trans fag” on my chest and walk in this parade. I was a little bit nervous because I figured there were a lot of people who weren’t going to understand what that means, but I was like, “Fuck it!” I was ready to show everybody, which is god knows how many people, who I was.

On feeling like a rock star while walking the parade:

It reminds me of when I was in high school and I played one of my own songs onstage for 350 students. It’s like, you know you’re the centre of attention in a positive way and you’re getting a lot of positive feelings from the people who are watching you