Pride is more than just a parade, and it’s not there just to be a photo op. For the second year in a row, the United Conservative Party has been rejected from participating in the Pride Parade in Calgary.
There seems to be a belief amongst some members of the United Conservative Party that they are entitled to a place in the annual celebration. They are not.
The parade is a celebration of the community and its allies. And the UCP has not been allies. Allies don’t walk out or abstain on votes that the community has clearly articulated are in their best interests. Allies don’t allow policy resolutions that would force the outing of vulnerable gay youth. Allies don’t allow candidates that have expressed hateful views and called for the removal of our rights to continue to be candidates.
But the UCP continues to do things the same way and hope for a different result.
Pride is more than one event, spread over more than a full week. The UCP has plenty of opportunities to be present and engage with members of the LGBTQ2 community at other events. But they’re not interested in doing the hard work. They want to show up, get a photo and get out. Being an ally requires engagement, listening, and understanding the viewpoints of someone outside of your echo chamber.
By not doing the work it requires to be an ally, the UCP attempts to paint the LGBTQ2 community as the bad guys. But the UCP has never once done anything to show support to the LGBTQ2 community, and as such, the UCP is not entitled to a platform for self-promotion.
That the UCP has now twice decided to plan parallel competing events that are open to UCP members and billed as UCP Pride events simply demonstrate that they are interested in one worldview being shared, and not truly engaging and building bridges.
If the leadership of the UCP wants to change course and be included in 2019’s Parade, here are three simple steps they could take;
First plan to attend a diversity of events throughout Pride Week, including the Premier’s Brunch in support of Camp Fyrefly.
Secondly, formally drop – by way of resolution of the Board – the policy that says that students who join a GSA will be outed to their parents without their consent.
Third, spend the next year meeting with organizations like Calgary Pride, Edmonton Pride, the Sexual Health Centre, and other LGBTQ2 allied organizations (beside LGBTory) that will offer a chance to have the tough conversations about the impact that Conservative policies have had on the community, and then act accordingly to show you will represent more than just Social Conservative viewpoints.
Then and only then will the UCP have demonstrated their allied credentials.