Temporary rainbow crosswalks have returned to downtown Red Deer in preparation of Central Alberta Pride Week 2018 next week.
But could the colourful crosswalk become permanent?
“Our hope down the road, maybe a few years down the road, would be to have a permanent crosswalk,” said Serge Gingras, board chair of Central Alberta Pride Society, at Thursday’s annual unveiling of Fargeys Rainbow Crosswalk located on both the east and west side of the Ross Street and Gaetz Avenue intersection.
He said a crosswalk is nice to have during pride week, but a permanent reminder would help people recognize and support the LGBTQ2+ community year-round.
“In every community there are people who don’t agree with who the LGBTQ community is and they don’t agree with the fact that there are people who are different then they are. So one of my hopes is through the crosswalk and the celebration week people start asking questions and start investigating more about who we are.”
He said people are multifaceted and the LGBTQ community is made up of all ages.
It’s the third year for the rainbow crosswalks and this year the paint was allowed more time to cure before it was exposed to traffic so they should stay bright for at least the week, maybe a little longer.
He said a few months ago people starting asking if the rainbows would return this year.
“I think people would have been very, very disappointed if we didn’t have it. It adds colour to downtown and it’s a festive thing. That said, festivity is nice and whatnot, but we also have to acknowledge our history. We’re part of the community that for many, many years have been very, very discriminated against.”
But today gender diversity is being embraced more by Central Alberta, Gingras said.
“I’ve been in Red Deer for over 33 years and in the last five to 10 years particularly, I’ve seen a great effort of different levels of government and different sectors of our community, whether business or education, becoming more and more inclusive.”