Monday, February 22, 2010

Olympic Pride

For the first time ever, the Olympics and Paralympics have a PRIDE house.

The Olympics have long had different "houses" to celebrate the culture of different groups, e.g., Quebec House, Saskatchewan Pavilion, Irish House.

Now, there's a place for LGBT folks, athletes, families, and friends.

And there're actually two of them!

"PRIDE house Whistler is located in the centre of Whistler Village at the award winning boutique hotel of Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre. It will be a hip lounge with a cocktail bar with TV monitors to watch the Olympics, hang out, trade pins, a media area to do interviews, and a venue to just have fun. PRIDE house will be designed with the core values of celebrating authenticity, diversity and inclusiveness."

"PRIDE house Vancouver is located at Qmunity- BC's Queer Resource Centre (1170 Bute Street Vancouver, BC). This is the operational hub of PRIDE house Vancouver, with special events happening at various venues around town. Friendly PRIDE house ambassadors will be able to fill you in on all that is fabulously queer in Vancouver. We will also have on hand immigration and refugee experts with a wealth of knowledge and resources for you. There will be free wi-fi and a public access computer for visitors’ convenience as well as a TV playing non-stop sports excitement."

"PRIDE House Whistler will be open from February 8th through to March 21st. The hours of operation is scheduled from 10AM to 10PM daily. (Subject to Change)"

"PRIDE house Vancouver will be open from Feb. 11th through Feb.28th for the Olympics and then again March 12th through March 21st for the Paralympics."

The Mission of PRIDE house is:
  • To provide an open and welcoming venue for the LGBT community and their allies to celebrate together diversity and inclusiveness through sport.
  • To educate and make aware that LGBT people are still discriminated against and in some cases persecuted for being or assumed to be a homosexual. It is still illegal to be gay in over seventy countries around the world and in seven countries the punishment for being gay is death.
This is particularity significant given that back in 1982, the first "Gay Olympic Games" were sued scant weeks before the opening ceremonies in order to force them to drop the use of "Olympic" and "Olympiad" in their name, leading to our current appellation of "Gay Games."

(While it's been stated that homophobia was not the reason for the litigation, other groups, e.g., Crab Olympics, Police Olympics, Special Olympics, Junior Olympics, were not sued.)

According to the PRIDE house website, PRIDE house is significant especially to people in nations such as India, Iran, Jamaica, Ukraine, and the 65+ others where it is illegal to be gay, and in the seven countries where it being LGBT is punishable by death.

"We are very fortunate we live in communities in Canada and the US where, for the most part, Gay & Lesbians are treated with respect and dignity, but in other parts of the world they are not."

"PRIDE house aims to provide those citizens who human rights are being denied a welcoming space to go to and find like-minded people, to find support and encouragement that is so valuable. How incredible is it going to be to help just one athlete, coach, friend or family find the support network they need to true to themselves. Now, that is something to be proud of."

3 comments:

  1. I encourage everyone to drop by the Whistler Olympic Pride House. I just interviewed Dean Nelson, the executive director of Pride House the other day. See it here and then take a virtual walk around pride house and Whistler at http://blog.virtualwhistler.com/?=344

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