Their numbers may have been small, but the message delivered by those participating in the city’s first ever Transwalk on Thursday evening was big.
Waving signs with the phrases “Trans is beautiful” and “Trans isn’t dangerous” as they circled City Hall Park, eight of Red Deer’s non-binary citizens aimed to shed light on their unique minority group and the issues they face during the community’s only Transgender Day of Visibility event.
“There’s such a negative stigma against gay and transgender people,” said Transwalk organizer Lucas Gagnon. “Today we’re here to get rid of the stereotypes. We’re here. We’re people.”
The peaceful procession took on an extra importance as it coincided with Alberta Education’s deadline for school boards to submit LGBTQ policies for review by the education minister.
All but two of the 61 publicly funded school boards were expected to submit their policies by the end of the day on Thursday. Red Deer Public School District submitted finalized their policies in December, while the Red Deer Regional Catholic School District only had to make minor adjustments to the jurisdiction’s safe and caring policy that has been in place for several years.
Transwalk participants, including Gagnon, were pleased by the steps made by the Alberta government to provide support and protection for those who don’t conform to male and female gender identities.
“It’s a great first step,” he said. “When I was in school, I wish there had been guidelines that teachers and faculty had to follow.
“Progress has been made and it means the world to me.”