#YQL – Taking Pride

Despite having recognized my queer identity at a very young age, I haven’t been able to attend many pride parades. Until very recently, I had only been to two parades, both of which were in Edmonton.

Thankfully, I added a new pride celebration to my list back in June. The Lethbridge Pride Parade was located on a downtown street, ending at Galt Gardens, a local hangout spot nestled between the Southern Alberta Art Gallery and a popular mall. Onlookers lined the street for a few blocks, clustered together on the sidewalk and sitting in the back of their cars to escape the muggy heat of the day.

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Onlookers wait for the parade to reach them.

The whole of downtown Lethbridge was bursting with rainbows. A variety of local boutiques participated in a last minute window display competition, and the pride flag flew outside of City Hall. Rainbow crosswalks were painted throughout the downtown core, and are still in place almost two months later. It seemed that Lethbridge Pride Fest did a great job developing initiatives for local businesses and government to engage in.

It was also nice to see that the parade took place on such a central road in the downtown core, although my friend and I almost immediately noticed that the street wasn’t blocked off. Participants in the parade were forced to walk or drive on only one side of the street, as cars whizzed on by beside them. Continue reading “#YQL – Taking Pride”

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#YQL – There’s No Place Like Home

The city I live in now, Lethbridge, is very well known for its wind. It’s not a rarity for winds to gust between 70 to 80 kilometers per hour on any given day (that’s 44 to 50 miles per hour, for our American readers). March 5th, 2016 happened to be particularly windy: research tells me that it got up to 34 km/h that day (21 m/h).

Although I’d already been living with the Lethbian wind (yes, we’re really called Lethbians) for about six months, I’d somehow managed to forget that factor while my friend and I were getting ready to go see DarkMatter perform. When we arrived, our carefully coiffed and sprayed hair was utterly destroyed by the wind. This wasn’t lost on the local hosts of the evening, who made more than one joke about the windy state of affairs. All of us guffawed merrily, and I, for one, felt slightly less bad about looking like I’d just arrived in Oz via tornado.

However, that night was a bit like arriving in Oz. When I’d told people up north that I was moving way down to Lethbridge, I’d had a lot of warnings about how conservative (and windy) the city was. I figured that since I would be attending a pretty liberal University, I’d probably be sheltered from the conservative ideologies of my fellow Lethbians. While this ended up being true, I also learned that night that the greater community wasn’t entirely conservative, either. Continue reading “#YQL – There’s No Place Like Home”