It’s Pride Week in Calgary, and while in many cities this week marks the official beginning of Summer, it actually marks summer’s end here. Beginning in the last days of August, and ending in the first few days of September, it’s a fun, positive way to bring summer to a close while celebrating the freedoms we enjoy and the progress we have made. Working in Calgary for a company like Mainstreet, that progress is clear. Whether you’re moving into the urban chic of Avenue Tower or prefer the side-street peacefulness of Mount Royal Apartments, you’ll find a bright welcoming rainbow flag sticker to welcome you home!
What does that flag mean these days, and what has it meant through the years? What does it mean in Calgary, and what does it mean to Mainstreet? Well, Pride has taken on many meanings to different people, and while it originally began as protest, these days it’s more often enjoyed as a celebration intended to preserve the momentum that has propelled the cause of personal freedom ahead.
Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender is illegal in Canada, where once it was a widespread practice. The Alberta Human Rights Act specifies that “a landlord cannot refuse to rent to an individual based on their sexual orientation. Discrimination or harassment because a person is gay, lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual, or perceived as such, is not permitted under the AHR Act.”
Laws like this and companies like Mainstreet who practiced this long before it was law proves that people can change, that societies can change, and that culture can progress and improve. When you’re renting an apartment or townhome from Mainstreet, though, you know that you’re going to be treated with respect not just because it’s the law but also because it’s who we are and it’s what we believe.
Still, it’s true that members of the LGBT community continue to face challenges not experienced by their heterosexual neighbors, and the transgendered community, in particular, faces discrimination, but it’s important to celebrate the distance traveled and the ground we’ve gained so we don’t lose hope for the years to come.
Calgary Pride has a long history dating back to 1987, one year before the massive 1988 Winter Olympics were to take over the city. That first year, Pride was celebrated as a festival comprised of several events but notably, without the parade so commonly associated with Pride festivals. According to Calgary Pride’s website, those events included a concert, a family picnic, a workshop, community displays, and a dance.
It’s important to remember what was on the line for those courageous enough to attend these early Pride festivals. Again, from the Calgary Pride website we learn:
“We heard so many stories of people afraid to come to the rally. Because at that time you could be fired, evicted or denied services of you were gay, lesbian or transgender. People who were schoolteachers, social workers, and government employees were particularly concerned.”
- Nancy Miller, part of the CLAGPAG steering committee
To address many of these concerns, and in a wink to the history of the city, Calgary Pride encouraged attendees concerned about being identified and suffering retaliation to wear Lone Ranger-style masks, doubling as a clear symbol of the discrimination that confronted the community. As the years continued to pass, though, things improved. The festival grew larger and larger as did the community itself, and even saw the parade led in 2001 by former Progressive Conservative Prime Minister Joe Clark, eventually growing into this incredible event that injects millions into the city of Calgary each year.
Working at so inclusive a company as Mainstreet, we’re constantly striving to do our part to advance social equity and ensure that we create workplaces where everyone is welcome and places to live that everyone can call home. For this reason, we proudly display a rainbow flag on all of our buildings to communicate our vision of remaining among the most welcoming residential companies in the world.
We hope you are living in a place that is affordable, comfortable, and as welcoming as Mainstreet’s many properties across Western Canada are. We also hope you have the opportunity to attend some of the exciting and fun events put on by Calgary Pride this year, and we encourage you to learn much more of the fascinating history of Calgary Pride by visiting their website or checking out CalgaryGayHistory and giving it a read!
Happy Pride from Mainstreet!