The Stettler LGBTQ Community group had their first meeting Friday, January 17th at the Central Alberta Business Centre. More than 25 members of the LGBTQ community and their Allies attended the event, providing a safe time and space for open conversation to show support towards the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual and Queer citizens in the area.
Kelsey & B facilitated the evening and started conversation with their personal stories of coming out in a rural community.
B grew up in Brownfield and Castor and talked about his journey of becoming a trans person in a rural community. Through his struggles he learned it was “harder for me to stay hidden than it would be for me to take the consequences of coming out. It has taken me a long time to feel comfortable and now I want to share my education and support wherever I can.”
There were numerous stories of heartbreak shared around the subject of coming out. Losing the love and support family members, depression, being shunned by friends and not being accepted in workplaces and community spaces were all common threads. The group agreed that part of their goal was to protect the young members of the LGBTQ community, and to make sure they never have to face these challenges in their lives alone.
B’s partner Alex stated that “it is really sad when we talk to someone about our coming out and the second thing they ask us is if we still have our families.”
Kelsey would like to see a Pride event in Stettler in the future. She feels having a local Pride event can show those members of the LGBTQ community that our community accepts them for who they are. Kelsey will be meeting with Nate Horner in the future to discuss government issues around the support and, lack thereof, of the LGBTQ community.
The next meeting will be announced on Facebook. For more information contact Kelsey or B through Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/Stettler-LGTBQ-Community
Administrators of the Facebook account stress that all messages are confidential.
For a Safe Space sticker for your business, home or organization please stop by the Central Alberta Business Centre and ask reception.
Contributed by Wendy Rairdan, StettlerLocal.com