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]