- BC Games
Pride condom distribution plan raises brief fuss
There was a brief ruckus earlier this week when organizers of the Royal City Pride Society learned the City of New Westminster would not allow the distribution of condoms at the “family-friendly” event this weekend.
Event organizer Ian Gould said a vendor and Fraser Health were planning to provide the condoms to festival goers, but the city told him that wasn’t possible.
“I feel it’s in everybody’s best interest to allow the distribution of condoms. It’s encouraging safe sex which is very imperative to our community,” said Gould on Tuesday.
“I feel it should be allowed and encouraged from a public health perspective.”
Diane Perry, manager of community development for the city’s parks and recreation department, said city parks bylaws, and contracts with user groups, do not allow the handing out of flyers or items without its permission. She said the rule is aimed at preventing anybody going into a park being approached in an unsolicited fashion, whether it’s handing out a religious flyer or something connected to a business.
But if something is distrubuted as part of a display, booth or table in which the park patron chooses to approach then it’s OK.
“Everything needs to be in good taste, and be a choice,” said Perry, adding she talked to RCPS president Shelly Reinhart on Wednesday to clear up the confusion.
A Fraser Health spokeswoman said it will have a table at the festival staffed by a nurse providing information on various health topics as well as providing public health supplies including condoms and toothbrushes.
“That’s all we wanted was for them to be available on a table. I would be happy with that,” said Gould.
Gould said although it might have been part of misunderstanding the condom distribution was not done last year because they thought the city wouldn’t allow it. But he’s glad they will be available this year.
“It’s nice to know that it has been recognized,” said Gould of the city’s response. “It got cleared up rather quickly once somebody asked the question.”
The festival opens with a community dance tonight (Friday) at Metro Hall, 759 Carnarvon St. It continues Saturday with Hills and Heels which starts at noon in front of Army and Navy before proceeding up Sixth Street to City Hall for the Pride Proclamation at 12:30 p.m., followed by the festival in Tipperary Park until 5 p.m.
Other activities Saturday include Burger and Beer at the Met Bar and Grill from 5 to 9 p.m., followed by an outdoor showing of the movie Mamma Mia on the festival lawn at Westminster Pier Park. It will wrap up Sunday with the Vancouver Men’s Chorus’s Big Gay Sing at the Columbia Theatre at 2 p.m.
• For more info: www.royalcitypridesociety.com/