PSAC supports Pride festivities throughout the summer

Pride 2012 celebrations have been happening across the Prairie Region throughout the summer. Pride month is a time to build community, increase visibility, and celebrate diversity within the GLBT community. But it’s also a time to celebrate the dedicated and focused GLBT activists and their allies who fight against discrimination and defend equality, and to recognize their achievements.


Pride 2012 celebrations have been happening across the Prairie Region throughout the summer. Pride month is a time to build community, increase visibility, and celebrate diversity within the GLBT community. But it’s also a time to celebrate the dedicated and focused GLBT activists and their allies who fight against discrimination and defend equality, and to recognize their achievements.

The most recent event took place this past weekend on Sunday, September 2 in Calgary with an estimated 20,000 in attendance including many families. PSAC members proudly marched with union Sisters and Brothers alongside the Alberta Federation of Labour’s float and other labour affiliates. The float, organized by GLBT PRC Rep Timothy Hunt, showcased the House of Labour and the contributions of labour over the past 100 years, in honour of the AFL’s centennial. Members handed out PSAC Pride flags to people along the parade route, along with special “Harper Hates Human Rights” lollipops, to coincide with the Harper Hates Me campaign.

Carrie-Ann French, newly elected Chair of the PSAC Calgary Regional Women’s Committee, attended the event for the first time and made a point of bringing her daughter with her.

“I believe it’s extremely important for our youth to understand diversity and have the courage to stand up for those being bullied,” she explains. “I was overwhelmed by the number of people who showed up. The turnout is proof that acceptance is growing and people are reaching out to understand and support their community. I look forward to next year and expect to see just as much support – if not more.”

Earlier this summer, on June 3, more than a dozen PSAC members met at the Manitoba Legislative Building to get organized for Winnipeg Pride. They joined in the march with PSAC Pride flags in hand, which were extremely popular with parade-goers. Members were delighted to participate in the parade and plan to build on the momentum from this year’s event for next year with a bigger presence and more members attending. This year’s parade brought out an estimated 15,000 people.

For Lindsey Sparks, PSAC Winnipeg Regional Representative, this parade marked his first event. 

“It was a really great place to be. Had I known I could have that much fun while making a powerful social statement, I would have gone a long time ago – even if I wasn’t part of the union,” he explains.

Sparks stresses that participants don’t need to identify as LGBT to enjoy the celebrations. He says for those who want to show their support but don’t know how, attending the parade is a good start.

“Even though I was there as an ally, I felt like I was a part of the group. We were all standing side by side doing something good.”

In Saskatoon, the Pride Parade took place on June 16. It was the Saskatoon Pride’s 20th anniversary and a notable highlight was that CBSA officers from Saskatoon were the first uniformed law enforcement to ever march in the parade. Members were very proud to represent PSAC and CBSA in this historical milestone with six uniformed officers marching alongside spouses, children and many friends. Other PSAC members met with Marianne Hladun, Regional Executive Vice-President for the Prairie Region, at the PSAC regional office and joined the parade with banners and flags. The parade was a success with over an estimated 4,000 people in attendance, a record for the annual event.

“Not only was it the first time our CBSA members marched in uniform, it was the first time PSAC marched in the parade, as well,” says Hladun. “It was a proud moment to be in my home community proudly holding a Pride banner and standing together with members for equality and human rights.”