City hall flag raising kicks off Lethbridge Pride Week
Lethbridge Pride started Monday evening with a virtual Pride flag raising at city hall.
CALGARY -- June is International Pride Month and it's hard not to notice with all the rainbow flags waving in Lethbridge.
Unfortunately, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lethbridge Pride Fest Society has had to make most of the week's events virtual for the second year in a row.
It all started Monday evening with a virtual Pride flag raising at city hall.
Some members of the community still showed up, but were wearing masks and observing health guidelines.
The ceremony started with a blessing from Blackfoot elder, Tom Little Bear.
There were multiple speakers as well, including Mayor Chris Spearman and Lethbridge Pride Fest Society board chair Lane Sterr.
Mayor Spearman attends the flag raising every year and believes in the importance of pride in Lethbridge.
"We need to make sure we're not shunning people, that we're not judging people and that we are accepting people and loving people for who they are and who they choose to be," Spearman told CTV News.
He said he's happy to support the LGBTQ+ community year after year and is upset that they aren't able to have a larger gathering again.
"Most years there are various ways to celebrate, there's a whole series of activities," he said.
"These people are very much part of our community. They're very vibrant and they add to what Lethbridge is."
Sterr is upset about the lack of in-person events, but is looking forward to having at least one that will be taking place June 18 in the downtown core.
"We plan on doing a pride pop-up photo shoot like we've done last year," he said.
"It's a time for you to come and get your pictures taken by a professional photographer while celebrating pride with the community."
Other events for the week include gender diversity training as well as a virtual drag queen story time on June 16 with Levi Cox, also known as Crissy Cox, and Brandi Jayne.
However, that's not all that's happening, as both Crissy and Brandi have some exciting news to share for what will be happening after the story time.
"We're going to get vaccinated, in full drag, for our double vax at the downtown Pharmasave at three o'clock this Wednesday," Cox said.
Cox said he's not only excited to get fully vaccinated, but to do so while spreading pride and happiness.
When asked what pride means to him, Cox had this to say.
"To me, pride is being proud of yourself and standing up and then just let the dust settle and see who stands with you and you'll be surprised."
Monday's event ended with the flag being raised as well as the annual selfie that Sterr took with everyone behind him.
He said that he plans to remain as chair to help plan next year's Pride Festival.
"I'm excited to plan next pride to make it bigger, better and badder then it's ever been."
For more information on what events are coming up, you can visit the Lethbridge Pride Fest Society's website.