Delegates from across the globe gathered in Vancouver Oct 23-26 to celebrate the diversity and strength of Pride celebrations at the 2008 World InterPride conference.
Those in attendance came from far-reaching nations and sometimes vastly different experiences of gay culture and its treatment under the law.
Chesterfield Samba, of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ), says that in spite of these differences, it felt “really great” to be among other Pride organizers. In Zimbabwe, where homophobic violence and extortion are significant threats, Samba says it’s a great accomplishment to have a visible gay rights organization.
David Jiminez, one of the visiting members of Tijuana GLBT Pride, says that the opportunity to meet with like-minded activists makes him feel “powerful.”
Finding it difficult to keep his emotions from overpowering him, Jiminez spoke with Xtra West about the incomprehensibility of homophobic attitudes. “I look around and see normal people,” he says, “real nice people, with education, living in freedom.”
Caryl Dolinko, chair of the Vancouver InterPride Conference Society, says the three-day event was a success. According to her, the society was able to raise $5,600 for InterPride’s scholarship fund.
Asked whether this conference, unlike some in the past, was able to break even on its costs, Dolinko would only say that “the conference has done very well.”
Organizers cancelled tennis legend Martina Navratilova’s celebrity appearance just days before the conference due to unanticipated cost overruns. Dolinko says the decision to cancel was made out of “fiscal responsibility.”
During the business portion of the summit, Dolinko was elected co-vice president of operations on the InterPride board, joining members from Toronto, Brussels, Santa Fe, Zurich, and several American cities in their efforts to promote Pride worldwide.
“The board is more international than it has been in a while,” says InterPride co-president Trisha Clymore, “and that is really a good turn for the organization.”
Clymore says InterPride will begin to use a virtual office so that executives can collaborate online. “It’s easy to talk about wanting to be more global,” she notes. “It’s actually easier probably to implement that if you have people from different parts of the world sitting on the board.”
Clymore’s new co-president is Mark Chapman of Switzerland.