Grande Prairie gathered to kick off Pride Month on Monday with the 7th annual painting of the Pride Crosswalk in front of city hall.
Volunteers came out to help freshen up the rainbow crosswalk located at the intersection near city hall and the Montrose Cultural Centre. Along with the painting, there was music, and the Grande Prairie Pride Society hosted a barbeque which was a fundraiser to help cover the cost of the paint.
Grande Prairie Pride Society Board Treasurer Johnathan Clarkson says having grown up in the city he believes the crosswalk and other events which will take place in the coming weeks are a sign Grande Prairie is becoming a more inclusive community.
“I know when I was a kid there’s no way I would be out flying pride flags and painting a crosswalk, and that was back in the ’80s when we moved to Grande Prairie,” Clarkson says. “To see this, and to see the proclamation we will be doing next week at city hall, the flag raising as well a couple weeks ago that is a sign of progress and a sign of advancement as a city and community.”
Several Pride events will be taking place in the coming weeks including the Pride Family Carnival at the Eastlink Centre on June 10th, and the Party in White at the Bowes Event Centre. But Clarkson says a highlight from last year, which he is looking forward to again this year is chaperoning the Teen Dance.
“To see these teenagers just being themselves and unapologetically being themselves and nobody judging them in that space, and again growing up here that is something I wish we had, there were many times I cried watching these kids enjoy themselves and not care.”