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Westlock Pride group forms weeks after Pride flags, crosswalks banned

Peer-support group for allies, supporters and parents of the gay-straight alliance (GSA) Thunder Alliance has formed in Northern Alberta town that voted to ban Pride flags and crosswalks.
Westlock Pride is a community based, peer-support group for allies, supporters and parents of the gay-straight alliance (GSA) Thunder Alliance, at R.F. Staples School, recently formed by local resident and parent, Jasmine Boutin. For more information or to join the group, people can visit Westlock Pride Facebook page. File photo

A new group in Westlock is helping support family members and allies of the 2SLGBTQI+ community.

Westlock Pride is a community-based, peer-support group for allies, supporters and parents of the gay-straight alliance (GSA) Thunder Alliance, at R.F. Staples School, formed by local resident and parent Jasmine Boutin.

"We kicked it off last week (in early March) and we teamed up with everybody at the pop-up party today,” said Boutin, while attending a pop-up party in Westlock March 17. “I started it because there are adults within the Pride community here in (Westlock) that need support also and we need to have a voice within our community, a safe space and allies.”

Boutin, said anyone whether they are gay, straight, or trans is welcome to join the new group, which has had much interest and positive feedback in the short time it’s been established. 

“We have about 100 members so far and we got that (number) within a week,” she said, noting members have joined from across northern Alberta, including St. Albert, Edmonton, and Westlock and surrounding communities.

Boutin said it‘s about time the town of Westlock had a peer-support group like this and other rural communities in the province have outreach groups that provide similar support, but there was nothing serving this area.  

“Westlock was lacking that outlet so I felt it was time to kick it off and to have one,” said Boutin, adding the community group will meet up for get-togethers and events regularly. 

“We’re going to try to bring more community activities together. Maybe a picnic in the park, maybe another pop-up party, a dance party, whatever we can put our minds together to show Pride within our community,” said Boutin.

“We lost our crosswalk so we need other avenues and we need to show that we are a strong, connected community with other community groups.”

Boutin said there’s a need for such a group in small town, rural Alberta with “many Pride people within small communities” who are aligned and linked with the straight community and “they deserve as much support and love as anybody else,” she said, adding that sharing accurate information is important. “The misinformation out there needs to be facts and truth because it’s not a bad community.”            

Boutin said she is thrilled to see the support for the 2SLGBTQI+ community in Westlock and hopes the new peer-support group will continue to strengthen that support and benefit everyone in Westlock and the surrounding areas.

“There’s so much love and support and kindness,” said Boutin. “I can’t say enough. It’s just overwhelming support.”

For more information or to join the group, message Boutin via the Westlock Pride Facebook page.     

[email protected]


Kristine Jean

About the Author: Kristine Jean

Kristine Jean joined the Westlock News as a reporter in February 2022. She has worked as a multimedia journalist for several publications in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta, and enjoys covering community news, breaking news, sports and arts.
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