Wednesday, 26 February 2014

I am so proud of Alberta!

In 1998 when I moved from Winnipeg to Edmonton, all my lesbigay friends were horrified, absolutely horrified, that I would even consider moving to Alberta. In those days Alberta was quite rightly regarded as the most homophobic province in all of Canada. It was the kind of place that lesbigay people moved away from in droves. And I must admit that I did have a sinking feeling and a knot in my stomach when I drove across the Alberta border and left behind all my Manitoba legal rights and protections.


But you know what I discovered about redneck Alberta? The province wasn't completely wall-to-wall bigots, it was just waaaaay behind the times -- about 20 years behind. I figured Alberta would have to catch up eventually. And it did. Kicking and screaming all the way, of course, but still.

Which brings me to the point of this post. This month for the entire duration of the Sochi Olympics, many provincial legislatures and municipal governments across Canada flew the rainbow flag to show their support of Russia's LGBTQ community and its struggle for equal rights. And Alberta enthusiastically joined right in! Here's the rainbow flag at the Alberta legislature in Edmonton:


And at Edmonton City Hall:


And at Calgary's Old City Hall:


Well! Who would have ever thought this day would come? I am so proud of Alberta right now!

I've considered myself an Edmontonian for many years, but even after 16 years of living in this province, I've been reluctant to call myself an Albertan. In my mind, I have always been a Manitoban who lives in Alberta. I was never fully convinced that my queer self truly belonged here.

But you know what? I'm going to call myself an Albertan from now on.


[Credits: Alberta sign: website here; Legislature photo: Daveberta; Edmonton photo: CBC; Calgary photo: Calgary Sun]

44 comments:

Jim said...

As you ought to Debra. It is good to hear that Alberta has come a long way in such a short time. I was very concerned that family was moving there years ago. I couldn't figure out the attraction because back then Alberta had a reputation as being intolerant.
This is good news.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

well, i am now very proud of alberta too!!!

mxtodis123 said...

Congrats to Alberta. I know how proud you must be feeling
Mary

Sunnybrook Farm said...

Rednecks may surprise the urban people as they mostly really believe in freedom and don't want the government running their lives. Like everywhere you will find extreme views but from what I have seen people in my redneck land just want to be left alone,I see nobody setting around hating gays or blacks despite the media image. Rednecks are the last group that can be laughed at and made fun of on TV. Treat them like bears, just look at them from the car and don't feed them, if you threaten them, things can go bad quickly, don't leave good stuff laying around trash dumpsters as that will draw us to your area. lol

Pickleope Von Pickleope said...

I've lived so many different places it seems weird to identify myself by where I live. That is a cool thing Alberta did, your civic pride should be on full display.

Jeanne said...

Most Awesome!!!! Way to go Alberta!! Wish I'd see something like that down here......

LL Cool Joe said...

That is great news!

I don't really identify myself with any place or country or anything really. Ha.

Ms Misantropia said...

Congrats to Alberta for finally moving into the 21st century.

Linda Wildenstein said...

That is super! Congrats to Alberta and I'd say you have all the reasons in the world to be proud. Yay.

DEZMOND said...

Hooray for the Canadian lesbigays!

Miss Val's Creations said...

That is awesome!!! I hope to see acceptance across the globe in my lifetime.

The Happy Whisk said...

This is very cool and exciting. And a fun flag to. Did you ever watch Eddie Izzard?

"Do you have a flag?"

Great skit. Not about lesbigays, but a great skit just the same.

Cheers and boogie boogie.

Ken said...

I was born here, and I've seen a lot of change in my life. This is certainly a good one. Happy to have you as a fellow Albertan.


Also......you mean they make fun of us in other parts of Canada? I thought that was what we were supposed to do to Winnipeg? ;)

Adam said...

South Carolina is at least 20 years behind the times right now. Though a lot of people have accepted Lawerence v. Texas and there isn't much chance of it going back to those days.

Though it's funny (and very sad) to see a lot these homophobic evangelicals wish for laws against LGBT people that are similar to what we're seeing in Iran or Uganda.

And yet they claim it's only about protecting the sanctity of marriage. Give me a break.

Willow said...

Congrats on Alberta being a wonderful place to live and love freely.

turquoisemoon said...

Yay for Alberta! I agree with Adam! but then there's Topeka, Ks...with the Westboro Baptist Church! They just flat out scare me.

Kal said...

Welcome to the province. There should be punch and pie to celebrate the moment.

heartinhand said...

I'd read this in the news when the Olympics started and I was pretty darn happy that our government was being so supportive. I love the way that acceptance and tolerance is growing in this province and in this country, for the LGBTQ communities. Warms my heart and gives me hope.

Magaly Guerrero said...

Seeing those flags gave me chills. Good ones. Alberta (and the rest of the world) might move slowly when it comes to embracing diversity, but if we push hard enough (and smile a lot), I think we'll get there. Even if they kick and scream.

Insomniac’s Attic said...

Welcome, fellow Albertan! :o)

Francie M said...

Hey that is great. I've suspected that there is more to Alberta than meets the eye. Or I have since I started following your posts. So many surprises from our Wild Rose province!!! culturally and spiritually.

Mary said...

So cool! :). I think Canada as a country is far ahead of some of the US as far as gay rights are concerned. My current home state of Oregon and my first homestate of Maine are very open minded and believe in equality. But there are certain states, ahem, some in the deep South and others like Idaho and Arizona that are.. and i'm trying to be polite here.. behind the times. In fact, i wanted to cry yesterday when i heard that the Arizona legislature, (the Republican majority) had passed a hideous anti gay bill. Hopefully the governor will veto! But it's Jan Brewer, so i'm not too optimistic... I really thought the US had come farther than this. I really did. And evidently, the legislature is shocked by all the negative backlash they're getting! Really you bigoted idiots?? Geez!

Anyway, i apologize for that novella of a comment! Good for Alberta! It rules!

Leeanna said...

Congrats Alberta!! Now you can call it home.

Francesca Edesia said...

Sicily hasn't gotten there yet...we're way behind. Congratulations to Alberta.

Guillaume said...

You can proudly say that your whole province was more open minded than Toronto, as Rob Ford was against the same idea. Glad it floated everywhere in Qu├ębec as well. The rainbow flag has been floating even in my backwards city of Chicoutimi, in spite of its mayor I think.

Oh and something I personally envy about Alberta: I have been told that it has about 25% of atheists. This is huge, and a sign that not everything is so backward in the so-called Canadian Bible belt.

Sparkless said...

Yeah for Alberta! We've had temporary rainbow crosswalks painted for our Pride parade Day even in our small town.

Bobbybegood1 said...

Can you imagine the rainbow flag flying over the White House, the Capitol, or the Pentagon? The United States are way behind the times too. Great post! Cheers!!

Dawna said...

Change is always possible..
Nice flag - I don't know the story behind it. e.g what the colours represent or why those particular colours ( if relevant)

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Way to go, Alberta! Definitely a province to be proud of.

Riot Kitty said...

You belong! I am so glad they finally got with the program.

(Cheering and cheering about Arizona!!)

JACKIESUE said...

isn't it great when the place you love lives up to it? A judge in Texas ruled that the law against same sex marriages was illegal and booted it out..Texas finally might get it right.




















/

DWei said...

Someone didn't read some of the letters to the editors sent to the Journal.

Someone wanted to know why it would be considered intolerant if they didn't hang her flag displaying her "opinions" of homosexuality. Clearly, this is oppression.

Vanessa Morgan said...

Glad you've found your home, Albertan :)

Suzie Ridler said...

I didn't realize they flew the rainbow flag during the Olympics! Makes me feel guilty for being from Toronto with stupid Rob Ford at the helm saying no. So glad they didn't listen to him.

Finding and embracing your home is so important and powerful Debra. I am glad that the province has evolved so much. :)

Elsie said...

Wouldn't it be great if the United States caught up to Alberta? I hope it doesn't take another twenty years.

Elsie
AJ's wHooligan in the A-Z Challenge

knitwit said...

When I first moved to Alberta in '98 I floated around the oil-and-gas industry for a few months as a temp, and I remember in one office someone making a gay joke and then looking confused as I stared at him in open-mouthed horror! So glad things have moved into the 21st century!

Magic Love Crow said...

Good going Alberta! Excellent!

mrsduncanmahogany said...

Right ON!!!!

Laura said...

This is wonderful news!

SUZY8-TRACK said...

Go Alberta!!

Victoria said...

Yay..hugs..very proud too! Thanks for sharing such a special and powerful post!Great pictures..

Ol'Buzzard said...

If only the US was as liberal and open as Canada: I fear our Puritan roots will result in religious bigotry for years to come. Yes we are moving forward with Equality but the fundamentalist undercurrent is nasty and beyond reason.
the Ol'Buzzard

Birdie said...

I didn't know that Alberta was that far behind the times. I guess I sit here in my right wing province and forget that there are other places that are a little slower.

Frostbite and Sunburn said...

Yay for the flags, and I think both Edmonton and Calgary have some pretty cool mayors. Younger and intelligent, even if not totally always in agreement with me! Lol. I've lived here 7 years and I've found it a very welcoming and diverse city, though my small town can be a bit 'vanilla ' sometimes. -:)