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LGBTQ2S+ community, allies call for more support to address hate as Calgary Pride Parade returns to downtown core

Downtown Calgary was taken over by rainbow-coloured flags on Sunday as the Calgary Pride Parade rolled through.

The event has special meaning to Eren Schroeder, who identifies as trans.

“It’s been a really hard journey, but I’ve been pushing through and enjoying and being authentic to who I am, and I’ve found some of my people so far,” they said.

Schroeder’s mom, Tamara, was by their side, giving out free hugs to anyone who wanted one.

She says her goal is to make her child and others in the community feel loved and supported.

“The world is so often cruel towards trans folks especially and queer people, that creating a safe home is I think the best thing a parent can do for their child,” Tamara said.

According to Statistics Canada, police-reported hate crimes against the LGBTQ2S+ community rose by 64 per cent from 2020 to 2021.

The parade also comes as drag performances are targeted by protests, and Saskatchewan and New Brunswick introduce controversial policies around the use of pronouns and names in schools.

Anna Kinderwater, communications manager for Calgary Pride, says they’re doing everything they can to make the parade a safe place for everyone.

“We understand that there’s anxieties and frustration, but we’re doing our best to make sure that we’re supporting everybody that we can, especially trans folks and drag performers,” she said.

“We don’t want this to be a place of fear, we want this to be a place of celebration.”

Calgary Pride Parade on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023. (Nicole Di Donato/CTV News Calgary)

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek echoes those sentiments, saying it’s important to be an ally and an advocate.

“Anytime a group has been looking for their rights to be preserved and protected, the LGBTQ community has always been there and now when they’re facing some hatred, we need to be there for them,” she said.

That’s exactly what some people at the parade are doing.

“I really respect the gay population and hope they thrive in this world,” said June Nemisz.

Vince Jackman, another attendee, added, “I am part of the community, so now more than ever, we need to make sure our voices are heard.”

More than 200 floats and thousands of people attended the parade, including the CTV News and Virgin Radio teams.

Organizers hope the event will continue to grow each year.

“We’re still one of the cities who consistently are getting that done every year and consistently putting that on regardless of the complications or whatever else might be happening in the sphere,” Kinderwater said.

“It’s really important for us to continue because folks shouldn’t need to travel to Toronto or Vancouver or Montreal to have those celebrations.” Top Stories


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