For Immediate Release
June 13, 2019
(Kelowna, BC) June marks the internationally recognized Pride Month – an inclusive celebration of the LGBTQ2+ community and an opportunity to consider the progress still to be made in the quest for equality. Kelowna will host its own celebrations predominantly over the course of June 15 – 22, 2019.
This year, the Kelowna Pride Society is planning its most substantial celebration ever in honour of the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The Kelowna Pride Festival is moving back to City Park which will allow for a longer Pride March and bigger festival area for our community partners and festival attendees.
Dustyn Baulkham, General Manager of the Kelowna Pride Society, hopes Kelowna will get behind the celebration:
“We encourage the entire community to join us in this celebration. A more inclusive Kelowna is a better Kelowna. This isn’t about ‘us versus them’, Pride is a chance to show that no matter your gender expression or sexual orientation, all are welcome here in this city. At its heart, Pride is inclusive, welcoming, open and a giant celebration! What’s not to love about that?”
The Stonewall riots was community action against police brutality toward the LGBTQ2+ community and is widely recognized as ignition of the modern LGBTQ2+ rights movement. The theme for Kelowna’s 2019 Pride celebrations is “Because of You.” Blake Edwards, Co-President of the Kelowna Pride Society, explains the reasoning behind the theme:
“As members of the LGBTQ2+ community, every right we enjoy today was fought for and we must not forget those who risked their lives for those rights. Without their sacrifice, we wouldn’t have most of the freedoms that we enjoy today. For the Kelowna Pride Society, ‘Because of You’ is a way to honour those that fought against police brutality, discrimination, harassment and repressive laws – whether that be Stonewall and Operation Soap or creating the Rainbow Coalition and fighting for the right to have Pride here in Kelowna.”
There are a host of activities, including official Kelowna Pride events and affiliate community partner events, family-friendly fun and 19+ parties, taking place during Pride. Allies are encouraged and welcome to attend all of the events. Some of the key dates are:
- Mindfulness Monday – Yoga and Qigong Taiji (June 17)
- Not So Strictly Ballroom – Salsa and Social Dance (June 18)
- Kelowna Out & Proud Film Festival (June 19 and 20)
- Kelowna Trans March & Social (June 20)
- Kelowna’s Next Drag Superstar presented by Heritage Law (June 21) – including Celebrity Judge and guest performer Cynthia Lee Fontaine of Ru Paul’s Drag Race fame
- Kelowna Pride March & Festival (June 22) – headlined by Queer as Funk
- Pride Cruise – MOIST (June 22) – featuring Freida Whales, Ginger Snapp, and Ella Lamoureux
- FruitCake: Pride (June 22) – an inclusive dance party
Kelowna’s Pride celebrations are presented by TD. You can view all of the official and affiliate Kelowna Pride events here.
About the Kelowna Pride Society
The Kelowna Pride Society (KPS) is a non-profit organization committed to serving Kelowna’s LGBTQ2+ community. KPS creates events and offer programs to connect the community. The organization depends on volunteers, membership, sponsorship and patronage to thrive, and KPS is grateful for the support it is receiving from the community. KPS hosts the popular annual Kelowna Pride Festival (formerly the Okanagan Pride Festival) which draws visitors from throughout the Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada, and the United States.
The Kelowna Pride Society would like to respectfully acknowledge that they operate on the unceded, traditional territory of the Syilx-Okanagan people.
For more information, please contact:
Dustyn Baulkham, General Manager
Kelowna Pride Society