London Pride: Two events — a drag queen story time and a fun run — debuted with flying colours on the weekend at Pride London while roller derby bragging rights were also on the line

1 London

London News & Search

1 News - 1 eMovies - 1 eMusic - 1 eBooks - 1 Search

Drag Queen Storytime

If it was a trial run, the first Drag Queen Storytime during Pride London passed with flying colours.

The half-hour reading session led Saturday afternoon by Mz. Affra-Tighty (also known as Londoner Katu Azzya) brought about 150 people to the Central Branch of London Public Library.

Most of those in attendance were children brought by their parents. Some wore celebratory rainbow colours and others wore costumes.

Nolan Hollingsworth, 9, wore a plain red shirt. His mother, Alicia Hollingsworth, brought him to the storytime with three of his siblings.

“I love drag queens. They are talented and unique and do whatever they want and do their dreams,” Nolan said.

Nolan has autism. His mother said being at Pride events helps her son feel more included.

“When he comes to Pride he sees that these drag queens are living life how they want to — colourful. They don’t fit societal norms and he feels like that’s OK because he’s welcome and he’s happy and he gets to be who he needs to be,” Alicia Hollingsworth said.

Run with Pride

London Pride picked up the pace at the first Run with Pride on Sunday.

Most of the 175 participants completed the five-kilometre version of the race, but not before many of the young runners raced to the finish of the one-kilometre edition through a cheering human tunnel of rainbow-clad attendees.

Barry Smith, who organized the race at Wonderland Gardens, shared what he felt was the event’s real purpose.

“The race is to celebrate who you are, who you love and talk to a new friend,” he said. “For me, I’m just happy if everyone has fun and is themselves, that’s all I ask.”

Smith said he expects the race to become an annual Pride event.

Rock the Rainbow: Roller Derby Pride Bout

London Pride events switched from one track to another on Sunday at the London Middlesex Roller Derby Pride Bout.

Skaters swapped out their normally colourful apparel for rainbow stripes for the fifth year in a row. “Roller derby is a very accepting and very open sport that seems to attract a lot of different people and a really unique group of people,” said Dawn Urbanowicz, who has participated in the Pride Bout since its inaugural year.

“It’s all about having fun and being involved in a group sport. We’re not super competitive. It’s just about fun and friendship.”

Junior teams from London and Sarnia played in a low-contact version of the roller derby before London’s adult team, the Backlash Betties, took on Kitchener’s Fighting Frauleins in the main event at Medway Arena.

Mz. Affra-Tighty provided colour commentary for the afternoon.

A range of Pride-related roller derby gear was on sale at the event.

Michelle Ross, the event’s organizer, said about 200 people came to watch this year’s derby.


  • Runs until Sunday, with events at venues across the city
  • Began in 1981 as a different event
  • The first Pride parade in London was held 22 years ago
  • Pride outdoor festival in Victoria Park is Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. featuring musical performers, local vendors, beer garden, yoga in the park, and food
  • Culminates in festival-ending parade on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. starting at the Western Fair District parking lot
  • Pride closing speeches on Sunday from 2:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.
  • For more Pride info, see

We asked you: What does Pride mean to you?

Bard Margison, Toronto

“For me, having parents come out and be involved in Pride is always what gets me the most. I just think its really important that parents and families support their kids and their family members.”

Elyse Therrien, Hamilton

“Pride means inclusion. Community is a big part of it. Everyone is welcome from every walk of life. It’s just fun. Everyone is invited and everyone is included. It’s just positive vibes..”

Mohammad Sharifi, London

“I can’t see why it wouldn’t be important. It should be important to everyone. It’s all about caring about each other and giving each other enough support and space and rights.”

April Girard-Brown, City

“Pride is about teaching people it doesn’t matter who you are and being your own person. I like that my son would grow up thinking that people can be whoever they want and love whoever they want.”

Nathan Wilcox, London

“For me, Pride means living in a community where you’re accepted and where you feel like you’re at home and you can be who you want to be and be your authentic self. I think London is a great place for that.”

Nic Walmsley, London

“It’s an opportunity to be myself and celebrate being me and celebrate everyone else, its always a great time.” 

1 London

London News & Search

1 News - 1 eMovies - 1 eMusic - 1 eBooks - 1 Search



Leave a Reply