Strathmore Town Council has voted to install a rainbow crosswalk on the corner of 2nd Ave and 2nd Street in Strathmore to celebrate the local LGBTQ2S+ community. 

Representatives from Skatemore Girls, the Wheatland Youth Network and Skills for Success presented a delegation to council during the July 19 regular meeting to discuss the request. 

Noted in the delegation request, the participating organizations noted there would be collaboration between the three of them, as well as an open invitation to members of the community to help with the crosswalk painting, should the request be approved. 

“On June 17, 2023, the Skatemore Girls hosted Strathmore’s first LGBTQ2S+ Pride Parade, that ran along the pathway beside Thomas Drive. The event was attended by 23 participants and was well received by the community, inspiring a feeling of solidarity and support,” said Becca McDonald, founder of Skatemore Girls. “The success of this event and the energy of the participants inspired conversation about creating a permanent symbol of solidarity in the community.”

McDonald added the presence of pride crosswalks represent a visible statement of support and acceptance, letting those who are within the LGBTQ2S+ community know they are seen, heard, and valued. 

Similar pride crosswalks can be found in municipalities across Alberta, such as Calgary, Grande Prairie, Red Deer, Lethbridge, and Airdrie. 

Coun. Melissa Langmaid motioned to approve the installation of the pride crosswalk along Thomas Drive to commemorate the community’s first pride parade.

“LGBTQIA2S+ youth have really just terribly high rates of depression and bullying and suicide. A project such as this promotes support and acceptance and that has a great deal of worth,” said Langmaid. “It is really important that every member and resident of Strathmore has an opportunity to see themselves reflected in our community and this is an opportunity to do that.”

Councillors Brent Wiley and Jason Montgomery were in opposition to the motion to approve the crosswalk, being of the opinion that as a municipal government, taxpayer money would be used to modify public property to take a side on a controversial issue.

Wiley compared the idea of being asked to create a pride crosswalk to potentially being asked by pro-life supporters to do something for them to be similarly represented in public.

Going to a vote, the motion was passed 4-2 in favour of the development.

The project of painting the crosswalk is proposed to take place on Sept. 22 following the reopening of schools, allowing local GSA Clubs to participate.

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 26, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Strathmore Times   Strathmore, Alberta

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