Four individuals, who have made outstanding contributions to the LGBTQ community both locally and internationally, are being honoured as grand marshals at this year’s Vancouver Pride parade.
Each year the Vancouver Pride Society chooses up to four grand marshals who have helped to raise awareness of LGBTQ issues locally and around the world to lead the annual Pride parade, which will take place this year on Sunday, July 31.
Among the grand marshals is Alex Sangha, founder of Sher Vancouver, a social and resource group of LGBTQ South Asians and their friends. Believed to be the first Sikh to be named as a grand marshal for the parade, Sangha says it points to a change in attitudes. “This is a sign of the times, of the diversity of Vancouver, and the acceptance of the broader queer community of queer people of colour,” he says.
Sangha, who was selected in the Role Model category, is convinced that anyone can be a role model and set an example for other countries.
“In India and many parts of the world homosexuality is illegal and our queer friends are persecuted if not executed in some countries,” he says “We have a duty to advocate for equality and fundamental human rights for everyone everywhere. Our beautiful corner of the world can provide support and strength and a blue print to implement improved laws for queers around the globe. We need to stand and support each other know more than ever. Love and unity will prevail over hate.”
The three other grand marshals selected include Danny Ramadan in the Local Hero category, himself a Syrian refugee who has become an activist focusing on refugee issues. Trans Alliance Society chair and member of the City of Vancouver’s LGBTQ2+ Advisory Committee, Morgane Oger, was selected as the National Hero. Vancouver drag queen Charity was honoured posthumously for her community volunteer work.
The 2016 Vancouver Pride Parade begins at Noon on Sunday, July 31 through the streets of Vancouver’s West End. Visit http://www.vancouverpride.ca for more information on the parade and other events during Vancouver Pride week.