By Heather Cameron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
aber Pride 2023 will take place from June 1-3 at Confederation Park.
“All of the events are free due to support from the Canada Heritage Grant, sponsorship from the Oilmen’s Club of the beer gardens, and the support of the Taber library and the staff of the Town of Taber, who do an amazing job of making sure we have everything in place for a successful event,” said Scott Gillespie, treasurer of the Taber Equality Alliance.
Gillespie says to kick off Pride, the Taber Public Library is hosting two free film nights, one on June 1 at 6:45 p.m. and one on June 2 at 7 p.m.
The film being featured on June 1, Gillespie says, is called Love, Scott and follows the events of a young gay musician who was attacked and paralyzed from the waist down. Gillespie says that more information about the film can be found on https://www.nfb.ca/film/love_scott/.
On June 2, Gillespie says the library will be showing Small Town Pride, a film that features the Taber Equality Alliance along with groups from Nova Scotia and the Northwest Territories. The film, Gillespie says, was filmed in 2019 and more information about it can be found at http://smalltownpridedoc.com/.
Gillespie says that June 3 is the main day for Taber Pride and the day will start at the Taber Public Library with Drag Queen Story Time at 10:30 a.m. The flag raising, Gillespie says, will follow at 11 a.m. at the Provincial Building.
On the afternoon of June 3, Gillespie says that there will be entertainment on the main Cornfest stage, booths, face painting, a bouncy castle for the kids, and a beer garden. Those events will close at 4 p.m. The library will also be the gathering place for a ‘Queer 101’ workshop at 7 p.m. the same day. Taber Pride will close out with a trivia night at the Oilmen’s in the evening, Gillespie says.
“Anyone wanting to help with Pride could show up at the Cornfest Stage at 9 a.m. on Saturday for an hour or two of work plus helping tearing down from 4-5 p.m.,” Gillespie said.
Planning meetings for Pride, Gillespie says, are at the Taber Library on May 4 and May 18 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and the Taber Equality Alliance Society does all the organizing.
“Planning has been going well. We have good notes and the core group of us has did it enough we all know what we need to do,” Gillespie said. “There has been more and more support from the community. The pandemic interrupted the momentum we were building in 2019 so we really hope to get going on it again this year.”
Gillespie says that the very first Taber Pride was in 2017 and Lethbridge Pride actually contacted the newly-formed Taber Equality Alliance Society to help organize the first one. The Taber Equality Alliance formed back in 2015, Gillespie says, as a group of local citizens saw the need for an organization to advocate for sexual and gender minorities and their allies in Taber. The society, Gillespie says, was officially registered with the province in 2016 by Dr. Jillian Demontigny, Kathleen McKenzie, Michael Rose, and Jayce Wilson.
When Taber Pride started out, Gillespie says, it encountered difficulties when the Town denied use of the main flagpole and only offered the one out back. The flag was also vandalized twice that year and the response from the Town was to deny anyone use of it.
However, Gillespie says, things have since changed, as the Province of Alberta came forward and allowed the Taber Equality Alliance use of their flag pole at the Provincial Building, which is still used to this day.
“We have had some opposition, including a petition to stop it from flying, but for the most part things have been good,” Gillespie said. “It’s always very exciting to see so many people out in Confederation Park each year.”
The Taber Equality Alliance Society does all the organizing of Pride each year, Gillespie says, but the Taber Equality Alliance would love to have more people assist the group to do more through the rest of the year.
“Pride is the biggest event of the year,” Gillespie said. “It has been hard to do more as there are very few members currently running the Taber Equality Alliance. There are grassroots student groups organizing at W.R. Myers High School which is encouraging. We hope that as the pandemic appears to be behind us we can get doing more things in the community.”
To inquire about helping plan Taber Pride 2023 or for more information about the Taber Equality Alliance, visit https://www.facebook.com/tabereapage on Facebook or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.