BUGS NEED IRONING OUT
First the good news: The Vancouver Pride Society’s sponsorship deal with Labatt Breweries is being hailed as a success by both Society spokespeople and Labatt staff. Both parties stress that the current relationship is happy and healthy, and add that they’re looking forward to a longtime association that will send lots of sponsorship money to the VPS.
Now the bad news: Pride board members say there were a couple of bumps in last summer’s implementation of the sponsorship agreement. The result: Pride got its first $10,000 from the brewery-a sort of signing bonus, a thank-you from Labatt for choosing their company as the community’s key Pride brewery sponsor. But the VPS has had difficulty meeting the sales targets that it had originally promised Labatt. That means that some or all of another $7,000 that the brewery had hoped to donate to Pride may not be forthcoming. Pride spokespeople emphasize that Labatt is not to blame. They take full responsibility for communication problems between VPS organizers (led by corporate sponsorship chair Gillan Jackson) and the participating gay bars.
The expected shortfall could hurt Pride’s cash flow in the low-revenue winter months of 2004-but treasurer Barry Piersdorff says it shouldn’t delay the society’s plan to retire its debt. Both parties expect to have bugs ironed out by next year.
UNEXPECTED BAR DECISION
PumpJack and Oasis customers and owners are the big losers in the bar closing-time sweepstakes. A majority of COPE councillors-including lesbian Ellen Woodsworth-joined with the NPA at the Nov 20 council meeting and amended gay city councillor Tim Stevenson’s motion to extend 4 am closings for another year. The amendment means that downtown pubs-like the PumpJack and Oasis-which originally had to close at midnight or 1 am will be able only to extend their closing by two hours. So the PumpJack and Oasis will have to close at 3 am, whereas Numbers, for example, can stay open until 4 am. And the restriction is likely locked in for a year while city staff consider allowing some or all of the bars throughout the city to open until 4 am so as to encourage people to drink safely in their own community rather than drive into the downtown area. Stevenson, who has championed the later openings as being good for international tourism and for the gay community, was disappointed that only he, Mayor Larry Campbell and COPE councillor Ray Louie wanted to consistently apply the 4 am closing in the core area. The council decision was still stronger than city staff’s recommendation that bars be allowed open only until 3 am. A second look at the decision is expected at an upcoming council meeting. COPE candidates promised the gay community 4 am bar openings in the 2002 city election.
TRANS DAY OF REMEMBRANCE
Vancouver marked this year’s annual transgender remembrance day with a march, speakers, a movie and a vigil at the SFU Harbour Centre Nov 20.
About 75 people gathered to remember all the trans people who were murdered this year around the world. In preparation for the international event, organizers posted a list of 38 known trans-bashings, from places as diverse as Australia, Guatemala, Italy, the US and Canada. The US topped the list with 17 murders. Canada reported two trans murders this year, one in Toronto (Cassandra Do) and another in North Vancouver (Shelby “Tracey” Tom) in June. Tami Starlight, who organized Vancouver’s portion of the remembrance day, says she’s pleased with this year’s turnout. It’s important to remember the dead, Starlight says, because they prove that trans people are still being persecuted around the world. “They’re dying for our freedom,” she continues, adding that she’s honoured to host an event to remember them. Someday, she hopes, it may no longer be necessary. “I am hopeful that we are taking our rightful place in society,” she says. It’s important to be able to be out, trans and proud.
MONTREAL LOSES GAY GAMES
Down-to-the-wire negotiations and a flurry of last-minute attempts to reach an agreement failed two weeks ago, when the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) and the Montreal 2006 host committee both left the bargaining table dissatisfied. The main sticking points: who gets the final say on financial decisions, and how many athletes can participate in the 2006 Gay Games. The Montreal team, which beat out several other cities to host the 2006 games, says the FGG needs to relinquish some control. The FGG says the Montreal team’s plans are too ambitious and should aim lower, at least initially. The last Gay Games, held in Sydney, Australia in 2002, barely avoided bankruptcy and almost had to fold on the eve of its opening ceremonies.
In the end, neither side was willing to compromise enough. So, after two years of negotiations, the FGG and the Montreal team are now poised to go their separate ways. Montreal says the show will go on. It still plans to host a gathering of gay and lesbian athletes in 2006; it just won’t use the name Gay Games. It also says it wants to lead the way towards the creation of a new international governing body to replace the existing federation. The Montreal team will hold a special meeting to study that question in January. The FGG, meanwhile, says it might ask its second choice city, Atlanta, to host the official 2006 Gay Games.
BUGS NEED IRONING OUT