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Calgary Stampede, politicians barred from participating in 2024 Pride parade

Calgary Stampede has been barred from participating in the annual Pride parade “for the foreseeable future” due to abuse from a former staff member.

In a statement to Global News on Wednesday, Calgary Pride communications manager Anna Kinderwater said some members of the LGBTQ2 community approached the organization after the 2023 parade and outlined the abuse they experienced by ex-Young Canadians staffer Phillip Heerema while participating in the Calgary Stampede Showband as a youth.

This prompted Calgary Pride to conduct its own investigation that spanned several months, Kinderwater said. The LGBTQ2 advocacy organization then told Calgary Stampede that it would not be allowed to participate in the Pride parade for the foreseeable future. Kinderwater said Calgary Stampede was given “ample notice” about the decision along with suggestions on how to repair its relationship with Calgary Pride and the wider LGBTQ2 community.

Kinderwater noted that this doesn’t mean Calgary Stampede is banned from the Pride parade forever, but further actions need to be taken to address concerns from community members.

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“During our discussions, we emphasized the importance of survivors feeling empowered to come forward and receive apologies and reparations. We believe it’s imperative for Calgary Stampede to publicly recognize the steps taken to address these concerns and ensure community safety for the future. Concrete actions, such as supporting initiatives for survivors of sexual violence, are essential to rebuilding trust and ensuring inclusivity,” Kinderwater said in an emailed statement.

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“As we prepare for the 2024 Parade season, we invite the Calgary Stampede to engage in constructive dialogue and demonstrate their commitment to becoming stronger allies to the 2SLGBTQIA+ Community. We value their involvement in the Calgary Pride Parade and remain hopeful for meaningful progress.”

Click to play video: 'Judge approves partial settlement in lawsuit against Calgary Stampede over abuse'

Judge approves partial settlement in lawsuit against Calgary Stampede over abuse

Calgary Stampede said in a statement to Global News that it understands the concerns raised and will continue to work with Calgary Pride to address those concerns.

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“The Calgary Stampede supports the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, and we marched in the 2023 Pride Parade to show that support. We will continue to show our support whether it’s at our annual Pride Day at Nashville North, a future Pride Parade or any other events that we are part of,” the statement said.

Calgary Stampede isn’t the only organization to be barred from walking in the Pride parade this year.

In a news release on Wednesday, Calgary Pride announced it will not allow provincial and federal political parties or figures to walk in this year’s Pride parade.

Click to play video: 'Hundreds take in Calgary pride parade'

Hundreds take in Calgary pride parade

However, politicians and political party representatives are encouraged to attend the parade and celebrate Pride with LGBTQ2 community members.

“We recognize that many politicians are authentic in their allyship and that some are in fact members of our community, which is why this decision was not taken lightly,” Calgary Pride’s news release said.

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“Our first priority is to ensure that Calgary Pride continues to be a celebration of our community and that our members feel represented, safe, and celebrated. We believe these new measures will support this mission and further strengthen our incredible community.”

Click to play video: 'What’s new and featured at the 2022 Calgary Stampede'

What’s new and featured at the 2022 Calgary Stampede

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