Members of the recently defunded working group on conversion therapy in Alberta have been named this year's Calgary Pride Parade marshals.

On June 7, the United Conservative Party government announced it would not support the working group that had been created to study a potential ban on conversion therapy.

Calgary Pride officials told CTV news the choice of parade marshals sends a message to Alberta's government.

"Fund the work or don't fund the work, the convrsationstill needs to happen and the ban still needs to take place," said Calgary Pride Board president Shone Thistle.

The members of the group who will march as parade marshals in the 2019 Calgary Pride Parade are:

  • Dr. Kevin Alderson, president of the College of Alberta Psychologist
  • Glynnis Lieb, executive director of the Institute of Sexual Minority Studies & Services at the University of Alberta
  • Janis Irwin, MLA for Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood
  • Nicole Goehring, MLA for Edmonton-Castle Downs
  • Gary Simpson, United Church of Canada
  • Junaid bin Jahangir, assistant professor of economics at MacEwan University  

Conversion Therapy often includes behavioral-based treatments with the goal of changing a person's sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.

"It's an absolute honour to be a grand marshal of this year's Calgary Pride. it's really a recognition of some of the work I did and others did on the working group to ban conversion therapy in Alberta," said Dr. Kevin Anderson.

In July, Pride officials announced the organization would not approve the 2019 parade applications of any political parties. On Wednesday, the NDP announced its Caucus would continue its tradition of participating in the parade as invited members of the Centre for Sexuality's entry, a confusing move according to some political analysts.

"While it's sort of a nuanced message, I don't think it's getting very clearly conveyed because it looks like, oh, we don't want to be partisan, but they are only allowing members of of one party who've done certain things to ge involved," said Mount Royal University professor and political commentator Lori Williams.

Calgary Pride officials say political parties can march so long as they don't carry a banner, and must be invited to join with an approved group.

"If that means showing your political colours, please do so, we certainly don't discourage that in any way, shape or form. What we're saying is come as you are within the parade, within those groups that you are already embedded and working with," said Thistle.

The 2019 Calgary Pride Parade will take place Sunday, September 1. The parade kicks off at 11:00 a.m. at the intersection of 6th Avenue and 3rd Street S.E. and goes west along 6th Avenue before turning north on 6th Street S.W. and continuing towards Prince's Island Park, the site of the Pride in the Park event.