The Pride flag went up at City Hall this morning and I was honoured to be asked to give a short speech. I don’t do a lot of speeches and when I do I usually just make shit up in front of the microphone. This time, though, I wrote the speech in advance. I think it came out all right. I even managed to work in this year’s slogan: “Be You”.
Figured I’d share it here. You can read it after the jump!
Oh! And for information on Pride Week Events, look for a promotional supplement in the current Prairie Dog, or the Pride pocket guide, or visit Queen City Pride online.
Happy Pride Week!
STEVE’S PRIDE SPEECH
By: Stephen Whitworth
Seventeen years ago this month a friend and I were planning the big move to Regina. I lived in Winnipeg at the time, and Winnipeg, you’ll be shocked to hear, sucked. It was the era of The Weakerthan’s song “One Great City” — which accurately described a place big on words but short on meaningful action.
Although it was about to elect North America’s first openly gay mayor, Winnipeg in the ’90s was a place where city politicians squabbled over even the idea of proclaiming Pride Week. As a straight ally of the LGBTQ community, I was fed up of this disrespect towards a group that has been persecuted and disrespected since before it had a name. And I was looking forward to life in a new city with a proud progressive history.
In August we made a scouting trip to find a place to live. Imagine my surprise when I picked up the daily newspaper to look for apartment vacancies and saw instead — on my first day in Regina! — a homophobic ad quoting Leviticus.
It sure wasn’t an auspicious introduction to the Queen City.
The good thing about that experience is I can look back on it to see how far Regina has come. Thanks to a lot of hard work by tireless and dedicated people, Regina in 2015 is a place that embraces the LGBTQ community in ways it must be hard for veteran activists of the ’70s, ‘80s and ‘90s to believe.
You can see Pride flags all over town and more importantly, it’s bigotry that’s not tolerated — not gays and lesbians.
Even heterosexual rights activist Bill Whatcott has given up on this city and moved to the Philippines!
In 2015, I’m proud to call Regina home, and I know that the best is yet to come. On behalf of Prairie Dog, I wish everyone a happy and insanely fun 26th annual Pride Week!