Calgary

Calgary gay pride parade mandates LGBTQ support pledge from marchers

Any group or person who wants to march in Pride Calgary's parade must first sign a declaration of support.

Toronto and Vancouver already require pledge of support for gay rights

Former premier Alison Redford, centre, marches in Calgary's gay pride parade in 2013. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Organizers of Calgary's gay pride parade have instituted a new rule that requires participants to signa declaration of support.

"A lot of people have been asking for it. It helps us weed out the groups who've been walking in the parade for the wrong reasons," Steve Wright, president of Pride Calgary, told theCalgary Eyeopeneron Friday.

He says the move is in response to the debate over gay-straight alliances in 2014 and concerns some politicians were marching in the parade who did not support them.

GSAs are school groups that provide safe spaces for students to support and socialize with one another as they discuss their feelings and experiences related to sexual orientation and gender identity.  

Last year, the Prentice government was forced to revamp a bill to allow GSAs in any school where students wanted one. The original version of the legislation would have forced students to take their school boards to court if they were prohibited from creating a GSA.

'PR' of the parade

Pride Calgary's declaration for participants in this year's parade is an attempt to ensure groups who march in the parade support issues important to the LGBT community. 

Wright says it's something already required by organizers of the pride parades in Toronto and Vancouver.

He says board members talked about the declaration with others.

They felt a declaration would help to ensure the community is protected from people trying to benefit from the "PR" of the parade.

It's not meant to exclude anyone, but "if people don't support our community, chances are they won't be in the parade," he said.

Pride festivities run from Aug. 28 to Sept. 7 in Calgary, with the parade on Sept. 6.

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