Pride Week began organizing when a few Gay men and Lesbians met in 1975
The story about a group called Shades of Color (SoC) protested at the opening of the Pride Week Parade in 2018 was a sad day. (link) After decades of being attacked during every Pride Parade by evangelical pastors and their followers I felt sick. SoC was not satisfied when four of its' members were invited to meet with the Edmonton Pride Festival Society (EPFS). When they arrived at the meeting thirty of their membership arrived and again attacked the Pride committee. The police were called or more physical violence would have taken place. Here is an article filled with errors by one of the people who chose to attack the gay and lesbian Pride Parade.
Long before 2003 there was a healthy and inclusive incorporated Pride society in Edmonton. When a new group took over in 2003 they ditched the original society and eliminated the words gay and lesbian from Pride Week.
Originally we included everyone who wanted to volunteer in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities. The committee operated on a $20,000.00 budget for all of the Pride Week activities. You will never find that information, on the world's worst website, Wikipedia used too often as a reference. Wikipedia is for dummies who either do not know how to read or most likely never read a book.
SOC Made the Following Demands of Edmonton Pride Week
Here are some of the highlights from the demand notice. None of the wording was altered in any way to enable you to see the original wording by SoC found on this media website. The struggle for freedom began under torture and death by religious authoritarian theocracy circa 500 CE. SoC is attempting to rewrite and hijack history by using personal problems as a facade.
1. Open Pride with a protest lead by QTIBPOC, trans folx and their allies.
2. Pride in the Park. Included in this would be musical performances by QTIBPOC artists
This protest will be in place of the parade, and anyone who joins must have beliefs that are in line with the message of the protest.
3. Shades of Colour Community and RaricaNow will assess via email who applies to partake in the protest and ensure the applicants adhere to a set of criteria based on the values and principles of the protest.
4. These workshops and resources should take up the most space and be at the centre of Pride in the Park
5. Pride in the Park needs to end with a vigil to honour the lives lost due to numerous forms of oppression transphobia, racism, colonization, queerphobia, capitalism, classism, ableism, Islamophobia, homophobia, etc.
6. QTIBPOC+ and trans folx will lead this vigil, followed by white allies and supports.
Applicants will acknowledge that whiteness is pervasive in mainstream LGBTQ+ communities.
7. We need to fight to defend this land at all costs against all threats, including government-sanctioned invading pipelines.
8. Write a public accountability (ed; apology) Statement outlining the harm the EPFS has caused the QTIBPOC community and a public commitment to rectifying this harm.
Sorting the Facts from Fiction
Why were charges under Canadian Law not made by the Edmonton Pride Committee against the violent nature of SoC? The demands placed on gays and lesbians are both diabolical and a form of extortion against a highly discriminated minority group.
We have been dealt a serious blow for almost 1400 years by mythical words put into the vocabulary by religious groups. If you need proof look at the clergy of Iran where gay men face execution. They too have a reliable source given to them by a young man who hooked up with a very wealthy older woman. It was a small known world at the time and Iran keeps it that way in the 21st century. There are a few other countries where the death penalty remains in place for homosexuals. Bringing religion into a celebration of freedom is mixing oil and water.
Here is a quote from the trial brought before the Supreme Court of Canada caused by discrimination by the government of Alberta. (Factum of the Intervener in favour)*
Historically, Jews and gay persons have frequently been the targets of discrimination at the same time and from the same sources. In Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1980).
Do You want more Evidence?
As a target of racism and a victim of the Holocaust, the Jewish community uniquely appreciates the importance of being vigilant in the fight against racism and all forms of discrimination. Canadian Jewish Congress views the issues raised in this case not only as issues pertaining to gays and lesbians, but also as human rights issues relevant to all minorities and all Canadians. Congress understands that tolerance of diversity must be a goal for all Canadians. Congress recognizes that it has an obligation to object wherever discrimination exists. (Factum of the Intervener)
According to the Jewish Holocaust Museum over gays had their lives ended in the Nazi concentration camps or by hideous torture (or both). After years of research, another 900,000 mostly gay men and lesbians, disappeared between 1933 to 1945 during the Nazi purge of gay men and women. In the 1930s and 1940s, both governments, Hitler’s and Stalin’s, presented homosexuality as the enemy’s aberration and deviance.
The same laws which oppressed Jews oppressed gay people; the same groups bent on eliminating Jews tried to wipe out homosexuality; the same periods of European History which could not make room for Jewish distinctiveness reacted violently against sexual nonconformity; the same countries which insisted on religious uniformity imposed majority standards of sexual conduct; and even the same methods of propaganda were used against Jews and gay people, picturing them as animals bent on the destruction of the children of the majority. (Factum of the Intervener)
This isn't Russia where being a homosexual is no longer a criminal act, but, everything you do is gay propaganda. Therefore it is normal in Russia to be beaten or murdered by Nazi-like gangs who prowl the streets of Moscow. They are free do so because Heir Putin did not put a remedy in place for discrimination based on sexual orientation. The law is a typical example of political homophobia.
Putin did however ensure spreading gay propaganda, a open assault on a minority group, giving his Nazi-like thugs freedom to bash gays. Who are the men in dresses from a millennium ago who dictate how Russia is governed in this century? One of the strictest regimes from a 1,000 years ago, the Russian Orthodox Church, made Russia a religious state. Russia is not a democracy as they claim to the world. It's a state-backed oligarchy for those who adhere to the Russian Orthodox Church rules and laws written centuries ago. The idea of human rights is lost to religious and often fascist non-taxable organizations.
Possibilities for Gay and Lesbian Pride Month
Pride month and pride week must look to it's roots of persecution dating to the creation of authoritarian states with religion as its code of death. Let those who want to live by rules made up by angry old men, most of them non-white, stay in the 6th century. Pride can happily celebrate in the 21st century and let the mythical texts fade away into dust.
Bring the Pride Parade back to Jasper Avenue where 200,000 people enjoyed a great time on a Saturday. People of Edmonton flooded the sidewalks and Jasper Avenue taking a break from home life or working in their offices. The parade stretched from 112 Street to 103 Street creating an exciting time for everyone.
Allow the words gay and lesbian to be used as a reminder we are here.
Find people who live in Edmonton and understand our history, to volunteer without payment, to act as board members and advisors. Offer pepper spray to those in front of the parade and have an ample supply of officers of the law on hand. (Only to be used should any radical group get in our way)
As for the violent group Shades of Colour and RaricaNow they can hold their own protest rally. In their list of demands, it appears your choice, is their way or the highway.
For me I dread violence and people who make abusive threats while wearing a masquerade.
*Appellant Vriend the right to pursue his human rights complaint.
May 1997 Ronald A. Sorokin Lyle S.R. Kanee Witten Binder Chivers Greckol and Kanee Counsel Canadian Jewish Congress