Local LGBTQ community frustrated with Calgary Pride political party ban

The NDP were the only party that could've been allowed by jury scores, but they too have been barred.

Students in gay-straight alliances (GSA's) were parade marshals for the 28th annual Calgary Pride Parade, held on Sept. 2, 2018.

Following Calgary Pride’s decision to barr all political parties from participating in this years pride march, one local activist said he doesn’t see the point of the parade anymore.

On Monday night, Calgary Pride decided that no political parties would be allowed to march in this years pride parade. The organization later said only one party made the cut to participate: The Alberta New Democrat Party (NDP). They were still not welcome.

“If activists like Rachel Notley aren’t allowed in the Pride parade, then I don’t know what I’m watching. I’m there to celebrate the people who fight for my rights every day,” said Calgary LGBTQ advocate, Mike Morrison.

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This year, a new jury system reviewed applications to participate in the march. Morrison said the identities of the members of that jury are not publicly known.

Pride reiterates apolitical stance

Calgary Pride released a statement Wednesday to say they stood by their decision.

“A number of our jury members commented or requested that they would prefer to have no political parties in the Calgary Pride Parade,” stated the release from Calgary Pride. 

The release also justified their reasoning for barring all political parties, not just the ones that didn’t get a high enough score from the jury. 

“Including only one political party, despite their monumental support of the LGBTQ2S+ community, could and would send these messages: Some political parties would be unfairly perceived as against LGBTQ2S+ rights. Community members who did not vote for the NDP might see their place in our community as less than,” the release stated. 

Morrison said that Calgary Pride isn’t speaking to anyone and people like him are forced to make assumptions instead. One assumption is that Calgary Pride is afraid to stand up to the current government. 

The UCP, according to Morrison, is the first government in Canadian history to roll back LGBTQ rights. 

“But Pride is not meant to be comfortable. Pride is not meant to be easy. Pride is, you know, you’re pushing against people who are trying to take your rights away. You’re not meant to appease those people,” said Morrison.

All around Calgary Pride confusion

Morrison said the reasoning for why the NDP hasn’t been allowed to march has changed over the week. This, he said, is made worse because Calgary Pride hasn’t been speaking to the media. 

One tweet, from someone who’s not publicly affiliated with the official Calgary Pride organization, said Notley’s barring came from her political speeches at last year’s pride. 

“It’s just unfortunate that someone like Rachel Notley, who has never wavered in her support, and who is, by my beliefs, the most LGBTQ-friendly premier that Canada has ever seen – and will likely see for a very long time,” said Morrison.

“You know, to say that she’s not welcome and give different people different answers on why, to me, is an insult to activism.”

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It’s also unclear whether municipal level politicians will be barred from participating in this years parade. Typically, councillors are not affiliated with political parties, though they may have certain political leanings.

LiveWire Calgary has reached out to Calgary Pride, but at the time of publishing has not heard back. The story will be updated if they respond.

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