A Grande Prairie man is upset by a social media post by a city councillor, saying it went against city bylaws and council’s mission statement. 

A day before the 1millionmarchforchildren protest, Coun. Dylan Bressey posted on social media that an upcoming protest coming the next day has some in the community feeling as though they are not welcome. In the post, he reassured those who felt that way that they were welcome in the community. 

Breesey’s post reads: “There is a protest tomorrow. The message some members of our community will be hearing out of it: “you are not welcome here” and “you don’t have the right to be safe.” 

That is the message they will hear because there is very real harrassment and abuse of our 2SLGBTQIA+ residents that still happens. And sometimes it spills into threats and violence. Which makes me so incredibly sad and angry. It needs to end.

I’ve been proud to stand alongside my Council colleagues when we have helped paint the rainbow crosswalk, supported GALAP to raise a flag at City Hall, and listened to the Mayor proclaim Days Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.

I know I speak with the majority of our community when I say “you are welcome here” and “everyone deserves to be safe.”

People are people. The rights, health, safety and inclusion of our 2SLGBTQIA+ community members matter!”

Troy Johnson, an organizer of the local 1millionmarchforchildren protest, spoke to council Oct. 30, saying the protest was simply about the parental rights of young children. 

He said Bressey’s social media post went against city council’s mission statement of “demonstrating fairness and equity” and potentially against the council code of conduct bylaws.

“If somebody makes a statement, they must demonstrate whether or not that’s personal opinion or position of the council and mayor, so that needs to be known and whether or not our council stands against parental rights for our children in schools,” said Johnson.

The 1millionmarchforchildren website says the group is “advocating for the elimination of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) curriculum, pronouns, gender ideology and mixed bathrooms in schools.”

On Oct. 16, city council received a delegation from a 16-year-old asking council to speak out against the 1millionmarchforchildren for what she said is misinformation about the 2SLGBTQ+ people the protest was presenting.

She said what protestors are asking for could put children in danger where parents are not accepting of trans or gay children. 

Johnson said that though the SOGI curriculum is not being delivered in Grande Prairie schools, the protest meant to let school divisions know of their opposition to implementation of any practices against parental rights.

In his delegation form, Johnson said he wants either an apology or resignation from Coun. Bressey, though his name was redacted.

Coun Bressey responded to Johnson’s claims during the council meeting, noting that the delegation was clearly speaking about him. 

“There is a code of conduct process and recall process available to residents if they feel I have breached my duty, and I certainly welcome the systems of democratic accountability,” said Bressey.

“The reason I ran for office is to be part of building a safe and welcoming community for all people, especially for those who might be struggling because they’ve been left out, suffered discrimination, or face big risk factors. 

“My posts on Sept. 19 simply acknowledged the experiences of some residents and what they were feeling. 

“It is absolutely indisputable that there are members of our 2SLGBTQ community who feel under increasing attack and were particularly hurt by the event referenced.”

He then mentioned the 16-year-old delegation who shared their experiences and concerns. He said all of council has received similar stories from community members.

“I’ve had too many hard conversations with parents who are worried sick about the treatments that they’re publicly out kids are experiencing.

“These residents are feeling growing pressure because of louder and louder untruths and abuse that have been thrown their way. 

“I’ve seen some of this harassment happening with my own eyes and have directly experienced a small measure of it myself.

“It absolutely breaks my heart, especially when I see how some of our young people are impacted, so I stand by this very clear message to our 2SLGBTQ+ community residents: you are welcome here in Grande Prairie. 

“You deserve to be safe, and your rights matter.”

Council took no action regarding the delegation.

By Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Nov 09, 2023 at 09:22

This item reprinted with permission from   Town & Country News   Beaverlodge, Alberta

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