​Hundreds Attend Second Annual Steinbach Pride

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Michelle McHale and Chris Plett lead hundreds of marchers at the second annual Steinbach Pride parade Brenda Sawatzky

Steinbach’s second annual Pride parade was held on Saturday, July 15, with hundreds of people converging on the city. Organizers have said they were uncertain how big this year’s crowd would be after the huge numbers who came out last summer, but they described the turnout as amazing.

Although the overall numbers were down, Steinbach Pride co-chair Chris Plett says there were more locals in the march this year, which means that some progress has been made. He cautions, however, that there is still a lot of work to do on behalf of the LGBT community in southeast Manitoba.

Just like last year, despite the threat of protests and some homophobic comments online, the event went off without a hitch. RCMP calmly directed traffic as marchers walked down Main Street.

Some members of the predominantly Mennonite community have said that homosexuality is inconsistent with their Christian views.

“[LGBT] people are the Christian community,” said Michelle McHale, another of the event’s co-chairs. “Those things are not mutually exclusive. So to that I would say, that’s not fair.”

Despite receiving invitations and facing heat from the media, all local politicians were no-shows, including Steinbach Mayor Chris Goertzen, MLA and Minister of Health Kelvin Goertzen, and MP Ted Falk. Although Kelvin Goertzen and Ted Falk have previously stated they wouldn’t attend the event regardless of invitations or scheduling conflicts, Mayor Chris Goertzen issued a statement in advance of the march.

“As community leaders we want to maintain and create a positive welcoming environment that makes people feel safe and accepted not just on one day but continuously as we fulfill our responsibilities throughout the entire year,” wrote Mayor Goertzen. “The acceptance includes those in the 2STLGBQ* community and it includes those who have differing viewpoints who also deserve respect and understanding.”

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