As the COVID-19 pandemic continues into its second year, cities across the country prepare for virtual or distanced Pride celebrations. For Victoria, they’ve taken steps into virtual celebrations for the second year in a row. Last year in 2020, the Victoria Pride Society moved a yearly and vital celebration online by producing a documentary about the origins of a very special ball game and its impact and importance in the community.
The Memorial Drag Ball game started in 1993 when a group of friends came together to mourn the loss of their peers to HIV/AIDs and take a break from the bleak reality of the health crisis in their community. Dressing in drag, they played a ball game, and a tradition was born. Drag queens form a team against drag kings, and the game quickly evolves from a good ol’ game of baseball into a chaos of stolen bases and performance.
1993 was also the first official Pride Parade in Victoria, with the march being given a permit to walk from Centennial Square to the Parliament buildings. Subsequent years have seen the march route, and the celebrations expand into the week of events and the annual parade.
The current Victoria Pride Society was founded in 2004 and continues to advocate for the liberation and rights of queer folk in the island capital. In addition to the Pride Society, both the University of Victoria and Camosun College have collectives to advocate for their queer students.
History of Pride in Victoria is scarce. The relatively recent (in comparison to Vancouver in 1979) official recognition of its pride celebrations means there is much more history to be made on the island for its queer and diverse residents.
Victoria Pride Week 2021 is being held online from June 28th to July 4th.
Jayme D. Tucker is a journalist, writer, and performer settled on unceded Syilx territory. They're queer, tall, and tired of answering all the same token questions when they come out; So they're answering those questions and more for thehub.LGBT Kelowna. They've written for Daily Hive Calgary, won a scholarship for fiction writing with Eat North, and is the founder of The Queer Agenda, a non-profit social group focused on sober friendly, all-ages networking for LGBTQ2IA+ individuals (currently on COVID hiatus).