Sometimes being Kelowna’s mayor can be a drag

Colin Basran says he's turning 'intolerant' criticism into support for Okanagan's LGBT community by dressing in drag for the Sugarplum Ball.

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran is about to find out that while sometimes politics can be a drag,  it can also be fun at the same time.

Basran has accepted an invitation by the organizers of next month’s inaugural Sugarplum Ball to transform himself into his female alter-ego, Mayor Sugarplum, and attend the event in drag.

The event, in support of Okanagan Pride, was born out of what Basran called intolerance expressed by one opponent of Kelowna painting a rainbow-coloured crosswalk at a downtown intersection last year.

“When city council made the right decision to paint rainbow crosswalks downtown, an intolerant resident of our community took to online forums and would refer to me as ‘Mayor Sugarplum’,” said Basran speaking at the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce’s annual BDO Top 40 Under 40 Wrap-Up PartyThursday night.

“Little did this person know that while they thought they were insulting me, I actually found it quite humorous and I was kind of flattered. My friends from the Okanagan Pride Society thought we could have some fun with it and with that, the Sugarplum Ball was born.”

Basran, who describes himself as a  strong advocate of diversity and inclusion, was named the grand marshall for last year’s Okanagan Pride rally and march, the first Kelowna mayor to be awarded the honour.

The Sugarplum Ball, being organized by the Okanagan Pride Society and the Okanagan Young Professionals Collective, is scheduled for July 9 at Kelowna’s Rotary Centre for the Arts.

Tickets are available at http://rotarycentreforthearts.com/event/sugarplum-ball/.

Basran is one of several local celebrities who have accepted invitations to the ball and will get a professional makeover by well-known local actor Nathan Flavel,  working as his female alter-ego Hannah deJob . The celebrities include

Kevin Lavinge, Gillianne Richards, Jason Richards, Valaura Vedan and Vincent Jones.

Part of their individual makeovers will include a drag persona which will be introduced at the ball.

Okanagan Pride Society’s theme for this years Pride events is “We Are One” and ties in with the unity shown around the world after the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando,Florida in which 49 people were killed by a lone gunman. Another 52 were injured.

“As our community and it’s allies come together to show unity, support and love, we promise to not let those lives be lost in vain.” says Pride society president, Sydney Lawson.

“We will continue to work towards education, tolerance, acceptance and equality. We will celebrate and honour all lives regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, race or religion because all lives matter.”