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Vancouver Pride Week kicks off with LGBTQ2S+ weddings at City Hall, flag raising

The Progress Pride and transgender flags are raised above Vancouver City Hall on July 25, 2022, to mark the beginning of Vancouver Pride Week. Global News

A number of flags for Vancouver’s 2SLGBTQ+ community were raised over City Hall Monday, marking the official start of Vancouver Pride Week.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart read the official proclamation for the week’s festivities and was joined by several other speakers representing the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, along with other groups and advocates.

“This is a time to celebrate, but it’s also a time to take up space and remind people that we’re here, we’re queer and we’re not going anywhere,” Vancouver Pride Society chair Michelle Fortin told the cheering crowd assembled for the ceremony.

Read more: Vancouver Pride Society announces full return to in-person events for 2022

In his remarks, Stewart noted that while Vancouver has always strived to be welcoming to the 2SLGBTQ+ community, the COVID-19 pandemic led to a rise in online abuse, targeted physical attacks and isolation for community members that have persisted into this year.

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“Everyone deserves to feel safe in our city, and a big part of feeling safe is having a voice,” the mayor said, reiterating council’s support for the community.

Following the ceremony, the city hosted six “micro-weddings” for 2SLGBTQ+ couples on the north lawn outside City Hall, with the newly-raised Progress Pride, transgender and two-spirit flags in the background.

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Four two-spirit flags were raised, representing the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, and the Greater Vancouver Native Cultural Society.

Vancouver Pride Week will culminate on July 31 with the first in-person Pride Parade and festival since 2019. The past two parades were held virtually due to the pandemic.

Appropriately, this year’s parade theme is “Together Again.”

A number of other shows and outdoor events are being held throughout the week, with more information found on the Vancouver Pride Society website.

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