After the Alberta election votes were counted on Tuesday night, many members of the LGBTQ community said they were grieving and feeling disappointed. Many said it felt like a rejection from the province.
LGBTQ advocate and Calgarian Pam Rocker said she’s unsure of what the future holds with the UCP majority win.
“It feels like two steps forward and an unknowable amount of steps back,” Rocker said Wednesday.
“There’s a huge question mark and ambiguity of what might happen, and considering histories of those candidates and how they lived out their values, it’s concerning to me about what it might mean.”
Premier-designate Jason Kenney campaigned on plans to change the legislation of Bill 24 to allow teachers to notify parents if their child joins a GSA (gay-straight alliance).
Hundreds of Albertans rallied to protest those changes over the campaign’s course, worried it would mean teachers would be outing someone in the LGBTQ community and taking the choice away from the youth.
High school students involved in GSAs said this election result makes them feel more vulnerable. Grade 12 student Sean Ruhland is worried.
“I encased myself in this bubble and then something like this happens and it’s like a massive needle to the bubble, like, ‘You’re not as safe as you thought you were,'” Ruhland said. “I have a very political battle to fight right now — I was hoping I wouldn’t have to fight, but it’s a battle nonetheless.”
Others hope teachers and allies continue to fight for their protection. Calgary GSA member Andy Bedard-Moller said it’s time to give voice to the voiceless.
“It’s like taking a stand and pushing so we don’t get out rights taken away again,” Bedard-Moller said.
Alberta Party incumbent Rick Fraser spoke to Global News as a defeated politician, but also as the father of a teenage son who is gay.
“The province isn’t Jason Kenney’s or mine or anyone else’s,” Fraser said. “The province is Albertans’. We got to fight for everything we have and as an Albertan, I’ll continue to fight.”
Kenney wasn’t able to address the concerns around GSAs Wednesday. His press conference was cut short, due to rain.