Dozens of people took part in the second-annual Taber Pride event and watched the rainbow flag raised at the local provincial building on Saturday afternoon.
The last 12 months have been troubling for southern Alberta’s LGBTQ community, with two flags allegedly stolen last year.
The burned remains of the second flag were found shortly after it was stolen.
In January, the Town of Taber council ruled against allowing the flag to fly in Confederation Park, where the event is held.
Grade 12 student Zoe Nish is part of her school’s gay-straight alliance and said she sent a letter to council asking them to reconsider.
“The council wasn’t going to even rethink their decisions or even give us any other dialogue other than just ‘no comment,’ essentially,” she said.
She said it was disheartening to see, but when provincial politicians stepped up, it made her feel accepted for who she is.
“Obviously you feel so alone, especially in a town like this. And then to see so many big names and MLAs coming out to support you … it’s crazy.”
A pair of MLAs were in attendance to see the rainbow flag raised, including Shannon Phillips, who said the provincial government has Albertans’ backs.
“Our province believes very strongly that LGBTQ Albertans deserve human rights protection,” said the Lethbridge West representative. “They deserve to be safe in their communities and they deserve to celebrate those human rights and that safety.”
Both the mayor and the Town of Taber have yet to respond to our request for comment.
As for Nish, she said the burning and the alleged theft of the flags doesn’t bother her.
“I think that our voices are so much louder than theirs that it almost at this point doesn’t even matter.”