Lacombe resident, Jonathan Luscombe is beginning the process of putting together the City of Lacombe’s first Pride Committee. Luscombe wants to create a safe space for LGBTQIA2S+ individuals and allies without having to go all the way to the Alberta’s major cities to celebrate the community.
Luscombe said he was inspired to start the committee by some recent inclusive and successful local events that have been held in the past year in Lacombe.
“This year alone it's been nuts how much representation [is happening], like whether it's Indigenous representation with the museum that brought in the elders for Light Up the Night. That was something that I thought was so cool and it garnered so much support…The other thing was when Ugly’s had their drag show at the bar and it sold out. I was going to buy tickets, but it sold out before I even had a chance. I was really excited about it. It really got me going. I was like okay there is a demand for it. There is a big voice that wants to be heard and I think especially with Burman and all these younger students here, it's something that Lacombe is missing and I think will create a lot more community,” explained Luscombe.
Luscombe is hoping to have put together an operational committee by the end of March; however, if things prove more time consuming or challenging, he hopes to be operational in time for Pride Week in August.
“I really want there to be activities that are really not just for fun but also show what the LGBTQ community is about and how we as allies and we as supporters, can create businesses that accept and other people feel loved in. One of the simplest things is that whenever I walk into Shoppers Drug Mart they have a little flag sticker on the outside of the door. It's just the simplest little task, but it shows that they won't accept hatred,” explained Luscombe.
He also believes a Pride Committee can help educate Lacombe residents on what pride is really about and reduce harmful stigmas, and hatred of those in the LGBTQIA2S+ community.
“If you look in the US and the amount of anti-trans bills and stuff that's been introduced in the last year alone, it's insane to see the amount of negativity coming from there. I really just wanted to focus this on the aspect of community love and of just projecting that outwards and showing people that it's more than just anything about sexual representation. It's about who we are and the things that we can't change about ourselves, but that we love about ourselves,” explained Luscombe.
In addition to celebrating Pride Week, he hopes to paint a pride crosswalk in the City, to host game nights, to host inclusive programming for youth in the community, and to create a loving and accepting space to share stories and provide support to one another. Jonathan hopes the committee can provide the support he would have appreciated when he was coming out.
“It's always been a struggle ever since I was really young and was in the closet for so long. I honestly didn't publicly come out until about two years ago. That was something that was such a big step, but it was hard because there wasn't a safety net for me to fall back into. When I did that, there wasn't a group that I could be like ‘I came out’ and then have praise and love on me. I had to love on myself and had to be like ‘Jonathan, great job like you came out and that's something that not everyone can say and not everyone can do and feel safe about’,” he explained.
“In a queer space if you come out, it’s love. It’s pure utter love and it’s nothing that you can really replicate.”
Currently, Luscombe is looking for individuals and allies who want to be a part of the Pride Committee. Interested people are welcome to join the Lacombe Pride Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.