Supporters of gender equality protest outside School District 51

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WATCH ABOVE: About 50 people came out to support Lethbridge’s gay and lesbian community on Tuesday. Kimberly Tams reports – Mar 29, 2016

LETHBRIDGE – Close to 50 people supporting gender equality held symbols of pride, promoting gay rights outside Lethbridge’s School District 51 Tuesday.

“There are hundreds of us in the community, if not thousands, and I think it’s important to show the queer youth that they have somewhere to go to and they are safe,” Emmy MacDonald said.

Last week, the Lethbridge Public Schools’ District 51 held a public meeting in response to a petition signed by over 1,000 people. At the meeting, four people were elected to a special member committee advising the board on its gender equality policy, but all were against it.

“My immediate response was disappointed in my community of Lethbridge because I felt proud to be part of this community and it was very much a setback in terms of how I think about Lethbridge,” Wednesday Culley explained.

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READ MORE: Lethbridge School District 51 attracts over 1,000 at gender policy meeting

On Tuesday, a group walked from District 51 to Lethbridge city hall to show the gay and lesbian community support. Avery Follett attends Chinook High School in Lethbridge. Follett feels he has already been accepted by his peers and has faith the board will make the right decisions.

“I came out when I was in the 10th grade and I have never [been] bullied or physically harassed and I think that has to do with the over all environment of Chinook High School.”

The work on the board’s draft policy on sexual orientation began last fall and while this committee will have recommendations, the board will ultimately make the decision.

“Do have confidence in the school board. They see the effect of gay-straight alliances and they see the effect that these policies have across the country,” Culley added.

The special committee will have 30 days to examine and advise on the board’s new policy.

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