It’s time for the Fraser Valley to wake up and embrace the LGBT community! Organized by the Fraser Valley Youth Society, the inaugural Fraser Valley Pride Parade will take place on Saturday, May 25, 2013, marching through the streets of downtown Abbotsford.
Friends, family, allies, and members of the LGBT community are welcome to attend the Saturday afternoon parade. The organizers are quick to point out that this is not an official parade with street closures, so the parade will take place on the sidewalks, at least for this year. Parade participants are encouraged to dress appropriately for the youth-led pride initiative and to bring rainbow flags to show their support.
The parade will start at the Matsqui Recreation Centre (3106 Clearbrook Road), at 3:00pm on Saturday, travel south on Clearbrook Road, then turn east on South Fraser Way, ending at Civic Plaza (32315 South Fraser Way).
Dubbed The Bible Belt, the Fraser Valley, located one hour east of Vancouver, BC, has a poor reputation in the region for not being gay-friendly. Members of the LGBT community, both youth and adults, who live in the Fraser Valley claim they do not feel safe or are not welcome based on their sexual orientation, and want to make a stand for equality. PFLAG will be participating in the parade.
In the recent BC provincial election, Todd Hauptman, campaign manager for BC Liberal MLA for Langley, Mary Polak, made headlines across the province as he resigned his position with the campaign just one week prior to the election over differences related to LGBT rights and issues To date, no members of the BC Liberal or BC NDP party have come forward confirming their attendance to the Fraser Valley Pride events.
The youth-led group has hosted a walk for the past five years, and this year has expanded the event to draw greater awareness and attention to the LGBT community.
Following the pride parade there will be speeches from members of the community. To wrap up the days events there will be a screening of She’s A Boy at the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium, hosted by the Fraser Valley Youth Society.