Really Gay History Tour offers untold past of Vancouver’s LGBTQ2+ community

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Really Gay History Tour
Photo: Forbidden Vancouver

It’s time for Vancouver’s secrets to come out of the closet.”

For the second year in a row, Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours and the Vancouver PRIDE Society bring the Really Gay History Tour back to the streets.

The colourful, creative and compelling tour winds its way through downtown Vancouver and the West End, highlighting some of the most significant historical sites for Vancouver’s LGBTQ2+ community. What’s more, the tour guests will discover a history of outrageous drag queens, book store bombings and the unsung heroes who forever changed the social fabric of Vancouver.

The walking tour was researched and developed by Forbidden Vancouver storyteller Glenn Tkach, with support from company founder Will Woods. Dressed head to foot in pink, Glenn leads groups along bustling downtown streets.

“The tour itself is a kind of pride parade. The fact that a gay person can lead a walking tour right through downtown Vancouver, dressed all in pink, and publicly celebrate queer history, shows how far our city has come,” says Tkach.

Some specific stops include sites of police raids, bookstore bombings, the “Kiss-Ins” of Granville Street, Imperial Court coronations, and the gayest beer parlour in town.

Really Gay History Tour
Photo: Forbidden Vancouver

“This isn’t just the story of queer people in Vancouver, it’s the story of how a whole society evolved to become more diverse and inclusive. It’s an in-depth look at the social history of the city. In a way, it’s the story of all of us,” describes Tkach.

“The tour covers some dark history, including the persecution of queer people by government agencies and police right into the 1990s. But overall the experience is a celebration, not just of our community’s success in achieving equality, but a celebration of the brave people who fought back against a hostile society, whatever the consequences.”

During Vancouver PRIDE the walking tour will run every day between July 25 and August 7. Following Pride, the tour will run every Sunday all summer. Guests meet outside the entrance to Vancouver City Centre SkyTrain Station on West Georgia, and the tour is approximately three hours long.

The tour ends at the Jim Deva Plaza on Davie Street, which is near a variety of bars and restaurants that are perfect for a post-tour cocktail.

“Being a part of the tour, as a guide, and as a guest, is an act of PRIDE.”

Really Gay History Tour
Photo: Forbidden Vancouver

Really Gay History Tour

When: Tour stars at 2 p.m. During Vancouver PRIDE the walking tour runs every day between July 25 and August 7. Then every Sunday all summer.
Where: Meet outside the entrance to Vancouver City Centre SkyTrain Station on West Georgia
Cost: $35 for an adult / $32 for a senior or student. Prices do not include fees and GST