By Nikayla Goddard, July 10 2020—
Every Friday at 4 p.m., a new LGBTQ2S+ identified artist steps up to the mic to host the programming for the weekly Pride Cast, a podcast initiative from Calgary Pride that aims to strengthen LGBTQ2S+ community bonds while offering a variety of new information each week.
Parker Chapple has been the Executive Director for Calgary Pride for three years, and prior to that sat on the Board of Directors for the Victoria Pride Society as Director of Communications. They are also a drag king, and parent to three children.
“Pride Cast was intended to provide an opportunity to introduce to the general public various streams that they could access our online content through,” Chapple explained. “It’s like a newscast of queer recaps that we do every Friday at 4pm. We invite different LGBTQ2S+ identified artists to present each week. We talk a little bit about different community resources that are available here in Calgary, we talk about different events that are occurring […] in the community. We also talk a little bit about our history — we are entering our 30th anniversary, so we wanted to take an opportunity to start introducing folks to the pretty dynamic and rich queer history that Calgary and Alberta has.”
About a month after COVID hit, Chapple explained that Egale Canada, an LGBTQ2S+ advocacy organization, released a study that showed mental health statistics for the LGBTQ2S+ community.
The study “showed that Canada’s gender and sexually diverse were being impacted more than the average citizen and that their mental health was being impacted,” Chapple said. “So I think creating any opportunity for individuals to visibly see a member of their community reflected back at them is an important way in which we combat mental health challenges that our community is facing.”
Promoting community resources and events in particular “is an important measure of connectivity in a time when we’re really really isolated,” they added.
The Pride Cast has been broadcasting for around seven weeks, and is scheduled to be ongoing until the end of Pride Week, and depending on funding Chapple says they would love to take it year around. The host for Pride Cast changes every week, and Chapple described how Calgary Pride had a roster of people they had previously worked with, but also had open applications for some time to allow new faces into the series.
The Pride Cast seeks to “center more marginalized and vulnerable voices, such as racialized individuals, pan individuals, Indigenous individuals.” Chapple explained the importance in doing so lies in creating opportunities to not just provide a space to LGBTQ2S+ identified artists to talk, but also making space for their personal stories, their intersections and their lived experiences within the podcast.
When asked if there was anything they wished for readers to know, Chapple spoke on the topic of ‘cancelled’ Pride.
“I’ve heard the word ‘cancelled’ a lot,” they said. “Pride is not cancelled. The parade is not cancelled. The festival is not cancelled. […] Pride is not something that can be cancelled. Pride is something that exists in all of our hearts collectively and is a moment of celebration for the trials, tribulations and contributions.”
Calgary Pride is offering over 90 different workshops free to the public between now and the end of Pride Week, as well as look forward to a variety of different broadcasting and programming over the week, including playing over 200 LGBTQ2S+ artists, free diversity and inclusion training, and their initiative Pride in Business, which promotes small to medium-sized LGBTQ2S+ owned and operated businesses and those that support the community in the Calgary area.
Tune in live to the Pride Cast on Fridays at 4 p.m., streaming on the Calgary Pride Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Twitch. Also be sure to check out Calgary Pride’s wide variety of programming and workshops on their website.