Kyrsten Downton, Contributor
The Kwantlen Student Association will be participating again in the Vancouver Pride Parade on Aug. 8, and has released $6000 for marketing and float construction expenses. According to Joseph Thorpe, this year’s float will be the KSA’s best so far, displaying an elaborate tiki-themed design that he feels “we can actually be proud of.”
Along with Thorpe, KPU President Alan Davis, KSA Marketing and Communications Coordinator Josephine Wong, and other KPU students will be on the float during the parade. Posters with information about how to get involved have been put up on-campus for other students who wish to participate or volunteer, regardless of whether or not they’re involved with the Kwantlen Pride Collective.
The KSA took part in the Surrey Pride Parade on June 26 and are considering participation in other Pride events in the Lower Mainland, such as the New Westminster Pride Parade. Thorpe hopes that participating in Pride events will highlight the LGBTQ+ community at KPU on a larger scale and allow for KPU students to get more involved with the Pride Collective, now that it has space in the Surrey campus’ Birch building.
On Sunday June 26th, the Black Lives Matter Vancover also held their own march to protest the participation of uniformed officers in the Vancouver Pride Parade.
Back in May, the BLMV lobbied to the Pride Committee to ask for the removal of all police from the parade. The committee made the decision to allow 20 percent of the police force participating in the parade to be in uniform, while the rest will be in simple t-shirts. There will also be no marked police vehicles at the event.
Some argue that the police force should be allowed to participate because there are officers who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community, as well as the possible need for protection at the parade. However, Thorpe explained that BLMV is very important to him and the pride collective, since they discuss issues related to the marginalization of people of colour in both police enforcement and the LGBTQ+ community itself.
“In the LGBTQ+ community, people of colour are generally treated very badly. As well as police brutality, they are protesting how people of colour are treated in the community itself. That’s why it was such a good protest for them to do,” he says.
The KSA did not participate in the June 25 march as they were at Surrey Pride, but Thorpe says the KSA fully supports the BLMV marches and hopes they can participate in future events.
“I would be glad to go as Queer rep because it is an important thing to teach students about the marginalization. The [LGBTQ+ community] has a lot of our own issues that a lot of people don’t know about,” he says.