Calgary

Alberta city that held LGBTQ pride this year denies request to fly straight pride flag

A small, southern Alberta city that only held its first LGBTQ pride celebration last month has unanimously voted against allowing a straight pride group to fly its flag at city hall.

'The flag that's being sent to us today … is working solely to exclude one section of our population'

Airdrie, Alta., city council, which marked pride, above, earlier this year, won't allow a straight pride group to fly its flag at city hall. (Nancy Russell/CBC)

A small, southern Alberta city that only held its first LGBTQ pride celebration last month has voted unanimously against allowing a straight pride group to fly its flag at city hall.

Airdrie Coun. Tina Petrow said during the city's council meeting on Tuesday that the group should be thankful there's no need for a straight pride flag or parade, rather than asking why one doesn't exist.

"The flag that's being sent to us today … is working solely to exclude one section of our population. Whereas the pride flag does the exact opposite," she said through tears.

"It flies to celebrate the diverse culture we have and the acceptance of everyone's choices."

Larry Boland had written city council to request a straight pride flag be flown on Aug. 12.

That's just weeks before a group in Boston is set to host a straight pride parade. That organization's request to fly a flag in its city was denied.

Boland says his group was inspired by the Boston group, but he would not tell CBC News how many members there are in the Airdrie chapter — of which he is the leader — saying only that straight people are underappreciated and he expects the group to grow.

I do not believe anyone was excluded unless they excluded themselves.-Coun. Al Jones

Coun. Al Jones said he saw issues with the group's request, as it gave no examples or evidence of straight oppression or inequality in comparison with the LGBTQ community, as it claimed. He said he also was unable to find any details on the Airdrie chapter.

Jones said he walked alongside members of the community during the solidarity walk on June 22, as part of the city's first pride celebration.

"Straight people, I would argue, were the majority of the crowd that day and the park was packed … I do not believe anyone was excluded unless they excluded themselves," he said.

Council voted to "receive the proposal for correspondence," but do nothing further — sort of the equivalent of getting a text message but not responding to it.

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