Tags: Providing Leadership & Accountability

Posted on Sep 2, 2016

Celebrating Calgary Pride Week

Pride Flag

By Ricardo Miranda, MLA for Calgary-Cross. First published in the Calgary Herald, Sept. 2, 2016.

 

I have had the privilege to march in Pride parades all across this beautiful province, but Calgary’s parade this weekend really has special meaning for me as it is my hometown. This weekend marks 26 years of Calgary’s Pride movement. When the first rally was held in support of gay and lesbian rights in 1990, only 400 people took part; many wore masks to hide their faces and were met by dozens of protestors and angry words. In 2016, 4,000 people are expected to march in the parade, and instead of the jeers of protestors, marchers will be met with the cheers and support of an estimated 60,000 spectators.

Recently there have been many firsts for the LGBTQ+ community in our province. I’m proud to be the first openly gay cabinet minister in Alberta’s history and one of three openly gay MLAs. In November, the Transgender Pride flag was raised, for the first time, on Legislature grounds in honour of Transgender Day of Remembrance. Earlier this year, the Alberta’s Human Rights Act was strengthened to include gender identity and gender expression as expressly prohibited grounds of discrimination, and our government released guidelines for school boards to protect LGBTQ+ students. This week, I had the honour of raising the Pride flag at McDougall Centre, marking the first time the flag has flown on the grounds of the provincial government in Calgary.

Pride is an inclusive event where people from many diverse backgrounds work together to make Calgary safe and welcoming to all members of the LGBTQ+ community.

This weekend I will be marching alongside our Premier and members of our caucus with my LGBTQ+ Sisters and Brothers. And I will be joined by family members, including my mother, who are proud to march with me and our community.

So, I will be marching for the ones that are still in the closet. Because I hope that after they see many more days like these, where they receive a message of love and acceptance, that one day, when they are ready they will come out to a community ready to embrace them, and they too will join us in the march.

We have really come a long way—not only in Calgary, but in Alberta, however there is more work left to be done. While Pride is a time for celebration, it’s also a time for reflection.

The LGBTQ+ community has endured harassment, discrimination and violence throughout history. We will remember the 49 young people who lost their lives in the horrific mass shooting in Orlando in June. And members of the Trans community still face many barriers and discrimination.

Pride is an inclusive event where people from many diverse backgrounds work together to make Calgary safe and welcoming to all members of the LGBTQ+ community.

It’s my honour to march in the parade, alongside my colleagues, as we continue to work to make Alberta a place where all citizens feel free to be themselves, without the threat of violence and discrimination.

Happy Pride!