Queer culture should be more than just parties

Metro Vancouver’s LGBTQ21A+ culture needs to take some bigger strides towards community building beyond nightlife

Illustration by Carolyn Yip/The Peak

Written by: Yelin Gemma Lee, Peak Associate

Vancouver’s LGBTQ21A+ community has been fighting for its unified presence for a long time, and now it is considered one of the most LGBTQ21A+-friendly cities in Canada. Although while event organizers like Flygirl Productions, Babes on Babes, and Man Up do an incredible job of locking down the best parties of our lives, Vancouver is seriously lacking in LGBTQ21A+ culture beyond nightlife.

The queer community consists of diverse human beings. Some are private, introverted, socially anxious, asexual, or not down to party all the time. These individuals could feel like they are not able to be an active part of the LGBTQ21A+ community because they are not a certain type of way. Even for people like me, a flaming queer who loves going to these parties and club events, there’s a definite lack of opportunities to have meaningful connection and conversation with my fellow queers.

This isn’t to say LGBTQ21A+-community isn’t right to enjoy its nightlife. Having experienced a lot of it, I can definitely say we throw the best parties. But our events being primarily focused on club events feeds an idea that there’s only only one way to be queer. That way can be about drinking and loud drag shows, but that’s definitely not for everyone.

It’s also just not easy to connect and meet people in these types of events. I’m very lucky to have my two queer roommates, as well as several friends and colleagues who are either queer themselves, or strong allies of the LGBTQ21A+ community. But I connected to a lot of these wonderful people through online spaces like dating apps and social media. I just wish that there were more diverse physical spaces where this could happen, since queer nightlife — friendly and fun as it is — doesn’t usually focus on those things.

If you’re looking for more of these events, they do certainly exist, and I implore you to attend and promote them as much as nightlife. What’s On Queer hosts a lot of low-key events like movie screenings, music shows, arts shows, and more. QMUNITY is a wonderful queer resource that holds meditation sessions, yoga, and community talks. Right at SFU Burnaby, Out On Campus is a great resource that puts on several social events like crafting days, queer topic lectures and speakers, even volunteer opportunities. There’s a lot more that you can find just through searching on Facebook, but there’s absolutely more to queer social life than just the club scene.

The LGBTQ21A+ community has indefinitely reclaimed nightlife and has come a long way, but if we ever want to see the day when we are able to be safely integrated into mainstream society without the fear of erasure or prejudice against our identities, we can’t settle here. LGBTQ21A+ culture can be so much more meaningful and diverse in our day-to-day lives. There’s so many other ways we should get together and express our pride.