Mobilizing suburban pride: LGBTQ commemorative activisms and the contestation of municipal heteronormativites on Vancouver’s periphery

Authors: Julie Podmore*, John Abbott College
Topics: Sexuality, Social Geography, Urban Geography
Keywords: LGBTQ activisms, commemoration, suburbs, heteronormativity, governance
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Forum Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Originally modeled on the 1970 Christopher Street Liberation Day demonstration that marked the anniversary of the New York City’s Stonewall Riots the previous year, contemporary annual LGBTQ pride celebrations are ostensibly commemorative activist events. The global adoption of this annual practice of commemoration has primarily been concentrated in metropolitan centres, but in Canadian small towns and the suburbs, this global practice has increasingly been employed by activists contesting local heternormativities. In the suburbs of Vancouver and Toronto, in particular, LGBTQ activists draw upon a set of global practices to contest local municipal government inattention and suburban invisibility by demanding a set of commemorative pride practices, including flag-raisings, proclamation days, march permits and rainbow sidewalks, as forms of LGBTQ municipal inclusion and recognition. This paper will examine the commemorative place-making practices employed in expressions of suburban LGBTQ2S pride on Vancouver’s periphery, specifically in our key case study sites of Burnaby, New Westminster and Surrey. By comparing the differential outcomes in the pride commemoration practices in these three adjacent suburbs, we seek to demonstrate the importance of the local in shaping suburban LGBTQ activisms.

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