Bricks And Glitter, an organization that stands in opposition to the corporatization of Pride, has just started planning their third annual alternative, anti-capitalist Pride festival. It should be asked, however, why an alternative pride needs to exist in the first place.
Picture this: It’s June 21, 2019, and you’re attending your first Pride. Despite the heat, you are ecstatic. Your fear of crowds has been entirely drowned out by… well… pride! Real actual pride.
Donkey Kong’s original voice actor has just said, “Trans Rights” on a charity livestream, and signs pay homage to that. There’s a clump of pup-players wherever you look, clad in leather dog masks. People wear their respective Pride flags as capes, and everyone looks really, really happy.
And then you start to notice the logos. There’s an entire contingent of marchers repping the TD logo right next to your Pride flag. Tomorrow, at the central Pride parade, they’ll roll out their float. Bud Light will spray the crowd with bubbles while dancers pose in front of Pride-coloured posters of Bud Light cans. The OLG, Air Canada, Crest, Pepsi — a total of 27 brands — will make their presence known.
The LGBTQ+ community is evolving to forget a sordid history with cops and corporations. That’s what Bricks And Glitter is here for. In essence, while the organization stands beside Pride, they believe that it should be for the community, by the community, and shouldn’t be sterilized so that logos can be slapped all over it.
Instead, their funding comes from pillars of the queer and activist community: The Toronto Rape Crisis Centre, Muse Arts, and the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, to name a few. Find a full list of their sponsors on their website.
Last year’s events included talks on intersectionality, an open mic night at Glad Day Bookshop, a trans-positive drag show, karaoke, raves, a drop-in social, and much more. Essentially, something for a queer person of any age.
Twoey Gray, who was in attendance last year, and who plans on going again this year, says that she hopes Bricks And Glitter pushes Pride further toward an anti-capitalist, anti-colonialist, and anti-racist stance.
“[That’s] something the present Pride paradigm has kind of sidelined. It should be about people and communities, as opposed to huge displays of wealth and profit.” The opulence of Pride — to Gray — seems like a slap in the face to all the queer folk living in poverty.
Gray also says: “Myself and others, like, we’re not moved by a big parade. A parade is not why we get together for Pride. Pride is a time where we celebrate ourselves, but we should also learn, and challenge each other to be better.”
Max ZB, a community organizer for Bricks And Glitter, says, “We’re a group of queer people who want to prioritize people trying to celebrate their identity, or resist the institutions that are preventing them from doing so.”
They continue: “There is a broader picture that we adhere to: we want to respect everyone’s identity, and make space for everyone. We started doing this because we found it wasn’t happening in bigger institutions.”
Bricks And Glitter is hosting a community visioning this Sunday, Jan. 12, at the Buddies In Bad Times Theatre, to help them understand how to better serve the community. For more information, check out the event page: HERE.
The visioning will address three central questions: what can Bricks And Glitter provide that the city can’t; how do individuals feel they fit into the queer community; and what can Bricks And Glitter do to support individuals’ dream Pride projects.
ZB says: “It’s an opportunity to see how big this can be.”