Vancouver
2 min

Go vote-and save money, too

Deva launches discounts for civic-minded gays

MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION IN DECADES. It's so important to get out the vote in this election, says Little Sister's Jim Deva that he's organized a discount ribbon available to those who promise to vote. Credit: Robin Perelle

Get out and vote! That’s the message Jim Deva is hoping to send all the gay and lesbian voters of Vancouver with his new Pride ribbon project.



Ribbon bearers will soon get discounts at their favourite gay shops and pubs, Deva says-all with the goal of putting election talk on the lips of gays and lesbians across the city, as polling day approaches.



“It all starts with voting on Nov 16 in our civic election,” the co-owner of Little Sister’s says. “When we talk about development on Davie St, when we talk about policing issues, when we talk about the number of queer homeless people on our streets, when we talk about AIDS funding and support-it all goes back to voting on Nov 16.”



It’s not about endorsing any particular candidates, Deva explains, though he’s been working on the campaign of COPE council candidate Tim Stevenson. Deva says it’s about getting informed, attending the candidates’ debates, talking about the issues within the community and choosing the best representatives. Not everyone will choose the same candidates, he adds, “but that’s fabulous.”



It’s about claiming a voice as the gay community-and making sure the community gets good representation on the next city council, he says. So the next time zoning and development issues come up around the Davie Village, for example, “we better have some representatives from our community there to champion the debate.”



This election is also a good opportunity to show the rest of Vancouver the gay community’s political power. “Traditionally, we haven’t had the numbers voting from our community that we should have,” Deva says. But this year is different, he insists. This is the year the gay community can mobilize and flex its political muscles.



This is the year people are concerned about safety and bashing, he says. This is the year to show those concerns at the ballot box by voting in the gay and gay-friendly candidates.



“This election is going to tell the story of whether we’re a community or just a bunch of people,” Deva says. If the community can take its concerns and turn them into votes, “we’ll be a very powerful community.”



And don’t forget the school board, he adds. Choosing the new school board trustees is very important “if we want to get bullying and homophobia out of our schools.”



There is still lots of time to get informed people can register to vote at the polling booth, Deva says, urging people not to miss this opportunity.



“If we become apathetic then we’ve failed. It’s just that simple.”



Deva is expecting his new civic Pride ribbons to arrive soon. So far, Little Sister’s, Gay-Mart, the PumpJack Pub and the Fountainhead have all promised to honour the ribbon-discount plan. And that’s just the beginning, Deva promises.



Anyone interested in helping out with the pride ribbon project, is encouraged to call Jim Deva at Little Sister’s at 604.669.1753. “It’s not going to happen with one or two people doing it,” Deva says. “It’s going to take a team of people.”



PRIDE RIBBONS

Available soon at Little Sister’s.