Pride has certainly come a long way in Delta, says Delta Pride Society member Gillian McLeod.
When she first moved to Delta in the mid-2000s, she recalls wondering if and where other queer families were within the city.
So after some pondering, she and her friend Barb Thomas – who is one of the original owners of the queer bookstore Little Sister’s in Vancouver – put an ad in the paper in 2007 calling for “Rainbow Families” to meet at a Ladner restaurant.
“As my wife at the time and I walked toward [the restaurant] that day with our kids, we were sure nobody was going to be there ... We got in and we, [the Rainbow Families], had taken over the whole restaurant. There were 40 people there,” says McLeod.
Of course, there’s always been queer people living in Delta, but it wasn’t until 2018 that the Delta Pride Society (DPS) officially formed and kicked off with their first-ever Pride Picnic.
The DPS will host their fourth annual Pride Picnic on Aug. 21 at Memorial Park in Ladner.
But since catching up with the Optimist last summer, the DPS has certainly accumulated a long list of accomplishments and proof of their steady growth.
To name a few, they expanded to seven board members, hosted a virtual 2SLGBTQ+ issues progress report event and participated in educational opportunities at Ladner May Days and Southlands Market days.
“It’s been super encouraging to see that the majority of folks we connect with or come in contact with really are supportive, and they want to ensure that folks in the community are able to live their lives, to be who they are,” says Lydia Elder, treasurer of the DPS.
In addition to their regular community engagement through social media, they also attended the City of Delta’s Pride flag raising ceremonies and worked alongside them to create Pride month promotion videos and collaborate on the Pride banners displayed around the city.
“We’re very, very grateful to the city and the mayor and council. It’s quite heartwarming, and basically mind-blowing, a bit, [how much support we’ve received],” says president John Darras.
And just recently, the DPS hosted Super Gay Bingo nights in both South and North Delta.
Currently, they’re working on creating an educational toolkit to go with their “All Are Welcome Here” sticker and decals they launched last summer, which are available for purchase at Bosley’s in Tsawwassen, Stir Coffee in Ladner and Four Winds Brewing in Tilbury.
In addition to the upcoming Pride Picnic, the DPS has some events planned for the fall, so stay tuned on their social media @pridedelta for more details. You can also contact them this way if you’re interested in joining them as a member or collaborating with them through your organization.