June 13, 2018 7:27 pm
Updated: June 13, 2018 7:36 pm

‘A symbol of equality and support’: Lethbridge Crosswalks painted ahead of Pride Fest

After Lethbridge Pride Fest crosswalks were vandalized last year, board members are preparing for the 10th anniversary of the event. Matt Battochio reports.

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City of Lethbridge painters faced some high pressure work Wednesday morning as they painted the Pride and Transgender crosswalks in the downtown core.

“When I was lining with the machine before, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, it has to be so straight, oh what am I doing?’” City of Lethbridge painter Tayler Orban said with a smile.  “It’s so much bigger than us painting colours on a road.”

READ MORE: Rainbow crosswalk vandalized in Regina 

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It’s just a few stripes on pavement, but what it represents has significant meaning.

“It’s a symbol of equality and support,” said Lethbridge Pride Fest chairperson Devon Hargreaves. “It’s a symbol that Lethbridge as a community accepts and recognizes the queer community, the LGBTQ+.”

Last year, the community faced adversity coming into Pride Fest, with the vandalism of pride and transgender crosswalks and the burning of flags in Taber. Despite those challenges, the end result was the most well attended pride march in the city’s history.

“It brought tears to my eyes; I was happy I was wearing sun glasses,” Hargreaves said. “To see the streets lined with people supporting, making it very clear that Lethbridge is a very progressive town.”

READ MORE: Lethbridge rainbow and transgender flag crosswalks vandalized

The guardians of the night that protected the crosswalks last year haven’t been forgotten by the pride community. They will be honoured as parade marshals at this year’s march.

“It was just so cool to see them come out here and camp out and people bringing them Tim Horton’s and making sure the crosswalks were safe for the day of the parade,” Lethbridge Pride Fest board member Levi Cox said. “So they deserve it.”

A similar act of crosswalk vandalism already occurred this week in Regina and security cameras are up and running at the Lethbridge crosswalks.

Pride Fest is set to begin on Friday as the community comes together for tolerance and acceptance.

“Hopefully we can save someone else growing up and having that struggle about whether or not to come out,” Hargreaves said. “Hopefully we can save a bit of heartbreak.”

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Lethbridge Pride Fest.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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