The Province newspaper is reporting that Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman will speak at the City’s first Gay Youth Pride Parade on Saturday, May 25.
“Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman will not march in the parade due to “other commitments, but will speak at the gathering,”” the paper reported Wednesday.
According to The Province, The parade is scheduled to start at 3 pm and run from the Matsqui Recreation Centre to Civic Plaza.
“A free BBQ starts at 4 p.m. followed by a screening of a film on transgender identity at 6 p.m. and a panel discussion at 7:30 p.m.”
About 200 participants are expected.
The Province story deals with one of the dirty little secrets of Abbotsford – along with it’s decision to deny health care to drug addicts, the community has not been very tolerant or welcoming towards gays.
Province reporter, Elaine O’Connor, spoke to John Kuipers, a co-ordinator for the Fraser Valley Youth Society and detailed some of the realities entailed in being gay in a right wing Christian community.
Being denied service in restaurants and other businesses as well the denial of Ministry of Education curriculum which teaches children not to hate those of a different sexual orientation have all been a part of the journey of being born gay and living in Abbotsford. Though the School Board, a proud members of Abbotsford’s ‘City of Character‘ movement, was forced by law to provide the courses, there remain many social obstacles to living a normal life in Abbotsford if you were born gay.
Despite his inability to march in the parade, it is good to see Mayor Banman agree to speak to those who participate. Banman, as Mayor, also sits on the City of Character Council.