By Ryot Jey
While the sun shone, the gay community and their supporters came out to play in Surrey, as the Surrey Pride Society hosted the thirteenth annual Surrey Pride Festival on Sunday, July 8 at Holland Park.
Jen Marchbank, the society’s president, has been involved with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community for a long time, but she never imagined taking on the role of president.
“I feel that if you want things to happen in your community, you have to get up and make it happen,” said Marchbank.
“We focus very much on being a family friendly pride festival… like Vancouver, we are open, inclusive and diverse.”
As temperatures soared to thirty degrees, emcees Mz. Adrien and Taylor Mayd kept the crowds entertained in between musical performances. Lone skateboarder Ryan Brynelson of Protest Skateboards showed off his skills with handstands turning into flips, ollies, and tricks; his moves often in complement to the music.
Performers included lesbian duo Sugarbeach and pianist/songwriter Matthew Presidente.
Local politicians came out in droves to show their support for Surrey’s burgeoning LQBTQ community, shaking hands and giving speeches. The City of Surrey issued an official proclamation in support of the celebration on behalf of Mayor Dianne Watts, though Watts herself was absent.
Local universities were also represented by students from Pride Kwantlen and Simon Fraser University’s Out on Campus.
Jody Gordon, Kwantlen’s associate vice president of students and head of the student life and community department, was happy to attend Surrey Pride on behalf of the university.
“In student life and community, it’s really important to us to support all of our students; to show our pride in our students, as well as to be able to support our students in student life and engagement,” said Gordon.
Gordon encouraged all interested students, faculty and staff to join her and Pride Kwantlen on Aug. 5 in Vancouver.
“Being here at Surrey Pride leads nicely into our next event which will be at the Vancouver Pride Parade,” she said.
For more information or to get involved with the upcoming Vancouver Pride event, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.