It’s Pride Week in Prince Albert, a time for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to mark its place in our city.
While the event’s main attraction will be the Pride march on Saturday, other activities include poetry readings, movie showings, parties and barbecues.
Prince Albert Q-Network president Jennifer Brockman explained to the Daily Herald on the weekend what the week means to the LGBT community.
“You experience homophobia or trans-phobia and not very welcoming environments, and to have the week to be able to be one’s self and to be around other people who are supportive and understand -- it means a lot,” she says.
“It also means a lot to the people who aren’t quite ready, yet. They know it’s there -- the support is there, and that the awareness is there and it helps them to feel not so alone.”
Someone told a member of the Daily Herald newsroom a year ago that they remained in the closet while growing up in Prince Albert, too afraid to come out as gay.
During a Pride Week visit last year, this person was emotional as she talked about how genuinely impressed she was with the community and the progress it had made. She couldn’t have imagined both the support and the healthy indifference in Prince Albert.
The latter is important too because at least it isn’t hate.
She was well aware that there is much work to be done.
A Pew Research Centre study in 2013 asked if society should accept homosexuality. Just 14 per cent of Canadians said no, with 80 per cent saying yes.
That put Canada in third around the world on that question, trailing just Spain and Germany.
A number that warms our hearts is that 75 per cent of people over the age of 50 agreed that gays should be accepted.
It may not have been a thought they were raised with, but they have shown the mental dexterity to welcome new facts into their social beliefs. In the U.S., only 52 per cent of people over the age of 50 hold the same opinion.
It truly shows how most people in Canada are willing to live and let live.
But not everyone is.
Some people will suggest that any support of Pride Week is mainstream media propaganda for the gay agenda.
In a perfect world there wouldn’t be a Pride Week because nobody would give a hoot about anybody else’s sexuality. We don’t live in that world.
And this is not an argument in support of the LGBT life. No one would choose a lifestyle that instantly makes them a target of hatred and violence.
This is a simple declaration that as long as they follow the laws of the land, they’re as welcome to their sexuality as straight folks are.
Not everyone is going to support their efforts. It’s something they know and it’s something any thoughtful person knows.
We can only hope that number in future Pew Research Centre studies continues to edge closer to 100 per cent.
Prince Albert is a big tent. Lots of people live in it, regardless of race, gender, age or sexual identity.
We wish the best of luck to the LGBT community during the next few days, but even more importantly, we wish them good luck during the next 51 weeks as they navigate the hazardous shoals of homophobia where it exists.
Prince Albert Daily Herald