I was struck by the huge need for PRIDE here in Red Deer, Alberta, a city of 100,000 people. I had to accept my own sexuality and motives would be on display and I would be under scrutiny joining Central Alberta Pride Society (CAPS), but I was motivated.

I saw Red Deer city council vote down BANNING gay conversion therapy. My aunty instincts went into complete overdrive. What I learned about gay conversion therapy was astonishing: religious institutions and psychological practises have geared entire programs, camps and sessions towards “praying away the gay” and “ungaying” children using physically, emotionally and psychologically damaging practises.

Some members of the gay community told me of horrifying electro-shock applied to genitals while watching porn to burn out their same-sex desires. Others were forced to take inventory, and then confess all their breaches of sexual desire and contact to their church elders. These are only a few examples of the atrocities still legal in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.

I wanted to help change these things. Of course, I believe education is the key to understanding.

So now with “PRIDE WEEK” being proposed and “DIVERSITY WEEK” being chosen instead by school board trustees, I am again motivated through education to provide understanding.

Central Alberta PRIDE celebrates sexual and gender diversity. It makes the world a safer place for kids who are sexually different from the hetero norm: kids who are bullied, confused, suicidal and needing the most love. Instead of hating who they are, these kiddos get to wave their flags of belonging and celebrate their brave lives with “PRIDE”, while kids from all backgrounds get to walk with them for a more inclusive learning ecosystem.

Being who you are takes courage, especially when you are met with challenges like this. When you are being watered down, pushed aside and overlooked, you need others to bring you back to your feet. I want every kid in this place to know I want them to stand and shine. And they will not be standing alone, but surrounded by others who want to celebrate them.

Here’s a few easy ways to help gay kids in Central Alberta:

Communicate with the RDPS trustees to have PRIDE Week: 403-343-1405

Sign the petition

Join us: facebook.com/reddeerpridedays

IG: @centralalbertapride

Buy fundraising swag and take a pic wearing it for your social channels. 

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