In its infancy, Pride Marches were a rally and protest against the unfair treatment of LGBTQA individuals by society, where individuals gathered together to oppose the oppression they so desperately needed to overcome. They have since grown and evolved with changing perception to become the Pride Parades that we know today, with bright, colourful displays and a celebratory atmosphere.

The biggest shift that occurred, however, was the change from individual community members marching in these events, to them now watching from the sidelines as community groups and inclusive businesses parade past as an expression of their support for those very individuals. This “commercialization” or “pinkwashing” has faced increasing criticism over the years, and in response, Calgary Pride has sought to make preliminary changes to the structure of its Pride Parade.

The most important element for participants to remember is that the Pride Parade is not an opportunity to market their brand or product to thousands of spectators, but rather an opportunity to express their support, solidarity and inclusivity in a public manner. While we recognize that many businesses wish to achieve both through their participation, we encourage all entries to think seriously about their motivation to be involved in this event, and to treat it as more than “just another marketing opportunity”.

 

After feedback from community members and partner organizations, Calgary Pride has revisited the application process and participation categories for politicians and political parties in 2016, the changes to which are noted here:

  • Participation in the Calgary Pride Parade will be deemed as either Commercial or Non-Commercial.
    • Non-Commercial participation is for politicians or political parties who wish to attend in a limited branding capacity, walking or riding in a vehicle with standardized signage (provided by Calgary Pride). This Non-Commercial participation allows politicians and parties to attend as supporters and advocates for the community, without being overtly commercial.
    • Commercial participation allows politicians and political parties to enter the parade with branded materials and signage, walking, riding in a vehicle, or on a float, and joined by supporters.
  • All political entries will be required to submit a 1 page brief/update on how they (individually in the case of politicians, or as a whole in the case of parties) have advocated for, supported, and represented the community in recent history. This may include bills proposed/passed, voting records, participation in community events, support of other organizations, or any other suitable information.
  • Political Parade Entries that utilize custom banners, floats and marketing materials are welcomed, provided that it is done tastefully, meets Calgary Pride Parade Standards, and the message does not dominate the Entry.
  • All political applications will be reviewed and voted upon by the Board of Directors before approval is granted. Applications may be denied on basis of any of the above criteria.