By Jason Hering, September 4 2018 —
Over 50,000 people flooded downtown Calgary on Sept. 2 to watch and march in the 28th annual Calgary Pride Parade. Among the many groups marching were over 400 members of the University of Calgary community.
Groups participating ranged from administrators to student groups to faculties. Among student groups present was the Queers on Campus club. Club co-coordinator Eren Just says marching in Pride is a valuable community-building event for the group.
“It means connecting with other queer people on campus and fostering a supportive queer community,” they said.
U of C president Elizabeth Cannon was among university administrators to march in the Parade. She says the school’s annual participation exhibits the U of C’s diversity.
“We have the largest group of anyone in the city who comes out to Pride. It’s really important to us because we talk about being a diverse, inclusive community and this is one way to showcase to the broader City of Calgary what we do and our values,” she said. “It’s just a great day.”
Also returning to march at Pride was the Students’ Union, as well as staff from the Q Centre, the SU’s centre for sexual and gender diversity. Student representatives, including SU vice-president operations and finance Kevin Dang, were among those donning rainbow-coloured shirts.
“We have lots of our volunteers from Volunteer Services and the Q Centre and our staff here as well,” Dang said. “Diversity is super important to us and it’s super important to represent and show our support to the LGBTQ+ community.”
Leading the Parade were this year’s marshals — youth members of Calgary Gay-Straight Alliances and Queer-Straight Alliances.
A wide range of nonprofits, political groups and Calgary businesses also marched in the Parade. The provincial United Conservative Party was notably absent from the Parade for a second consecutive year, as their application to march was denied by Calgary Pride, who cited that the UCP’s application did not fulfil the required criteria. The UCP instead held a separate Pride breakfast off-site.