Founded by On Main’s Artist Director, Paul Wong and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, Pride in Chinatown is the first public celebration of queer pan-Asian Canadian art in Vancouver’s Chinatown. It started in 2018 as a small, one-night event with performances by traditional Cantonese Opera masters and contemporary Asian drag artists. The hybrid of the two disparate art forms shattered conventional perceptions of queer events, generating dialogues between generations while simultaneously addressing internalized homophobia in the Asian communities. The guests of the event were touched not only by the performers’ unique artistic expressions but also by the rainbow flag flying openly for the first time in Chinatown’s history.
Encouraged by the rave reviews, On Main expanded Pride in Chinatown in 2019 by activating the one-block area of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden complex with 60 queer Asian artists and allies engaging in multidisciplinary performances and community activities. The guest attendance was an astonishing 180% increase from the previous year, demonstrating the public’s growing interest in intergenerational queer events that uplift marginalized voices.
This enthusiasm has now burgeoned into a loyal following. Despite the many challenges brought on by COVID-19, audiences continue to embrace Pride in Chinatown, whether as a month-long street art exhibition or a one-night garden party. Because of the public’s unwavering support, On Main is taking the bold steps to expand Pride in Chinatown into a multi-day festival in 2022.