As you might have noticed if you’ve ever been two blocks north of campus, Ryerson lies just south of the densest gay community in Canada. While gentrification has certainly made the gaybourhood a touch more PG than we are used to (goodbye, independent bookstores, hello, David’s Tea!), the soul of the community comes out to play during Pride Week. While some elements of Pride are exactly what your mother warned you about, others are nothing what TV has prepared you for.
DO: Roam Around
Like any other festival in Toronto, Pride is going to have some sick deals, entailing anything from rainbow tanktops to freshly deep-fried pickles. Church Street is closed for the length of Pride, and features expanded patios all along the street. Whether you want to spend a day people-watching over nachos or exploring the village with friends, now you’re not only welcome to travel around, you’re encouraged!
DON’T: Bother Going to the Clubs
Seriously. Unless you plan on being in line by 8pm, don’t bother trying to get into any dance club on Church Street during that time. You’ll be waiting in line for hours before you can finally make it inside, and if you wanna grab a drink, you’ll be waiting in line for hours again. In addition, because often times the VIP tickets to these clubs go on sale months in advance, it’s the same squad coming in as every other weekend, making your chances of meeting new friends drop from “a possibility” to “not”. If you want to get the full Pride experience, party like you would in a cramped, sweaty nightclub on a cramped, sweaty street.
DO: Be Prepared For Nudity
Okay, your parents weren’t entirely wrong. The police have long turned an eye away from the nudity at Pride, and you can expect to see a couple of pantless ladies and gentlemen walking around in the parade and at night. Whether you agree that all bodies are beautiful and Pride should be used to advance body positivity, or you think that they shouldn’t be given exceptions to the law, be prepared to see some naked people roaming the street.
DON’T: Be a Jerk
I tried to think of a way to put that more subtly, but really, just don’t be an asshole. You wouldn’t go over to someone’s house to complain about their decor. If you’re not a member of the queer community but feel the need to whine about how the parade is “too gay”, or how there’s no need to act that flamboyant, don’t. You’re missing the point. You’re coming to Pride thinking that the parade is to make straight people believe that gay people are normal. Pride is to show the world that members of the queer community come in all forms of gender expression and sexuality, and that there is no “right” way to act. Masculine, feminine, both, neither – all is great, and all is beautiful.
DO: Be Prepared For Substances
Church and Wellesley has countless bars, clubs, strip clubs, and other places to casually indulge in some late night drinks. And when the hours extend until 4 am, you can’t be surprised when the streets are full of countless people of all ages looking like they should be home and in bed. If substance abuse is something that you struggle with, then don’t worry: Pride TO has got you covered. There’s a weekend of substance-free fun with cabaret, dances and support groups. Of course, Ryerson is also having a week full of substance-free events that you can attend, all without the damage to your wallet and body a week full of drinking tends to have.
DO: Enjoy It
You don’t have to be a member of the queer community to have fun with them. Enjoy a week where you don’t have to worry about “acting gay,” or acting whatever, and just act however you want.