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New West Pride seeks allies as it braces for anti-trans protests

2SLGBTQIA+ allies are invited to serve as "bystander observers" to help de-escalate possible protests.
Pride Trans flag allies
New West Pride is looking for allies to help serve as "bystander observers" to help de-escalated anticipated anti-trans protests, particularly at Saturday's street festival.

New West Pride is looking for volunteers to help deal with possible anti-trans protests at this week’s Pride celebrations.

Pride Week organizers are calling on allies of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community who’d be willing to serve as “bystander observers” at Pride Week events, in particular Saturday’s street festival.

Organizers say anti-trans protesters have targeted trans youth and queer families at other Pride events in the region, so they’re preparing for the possibility in New Westminster as well.

New West Pride will provide training for volunteers this week via Zoom so they’ll know how to handle encounters with protesters.

In an email to the Record, New West Pride outlined the role of the bystander observers:

  • Record what is happening using their cellphones, as this typically helps to create some accountability for how anti-trans protesters treat 2SLGBTQIA+ people who walk by;
  • Stay calm and not be riled up by the anti-trans protesters. We have seen that one of their main tactics is to try to instigate arguments — so it is important that our volunteers stay calm and practise de-escalation tactics;
  • Be a positive presence to help drown out the hate with support and acceptance.

Anyone who’s interested should email NewWestminsterPride@gmail.com to be connected with a training session and an on-site contact for the event.

 Any volunteer who can’t attend the training will be paired up with someone who has been trained.

The New West Pride street festival is set for Saturday, Aug. 13 from 3 to 8 p.m. on Columbia Street.

For a full list of Pride Week events, check out the New West Pride website.

Follow Julie MacLellan on Twitter @juliemaclellan.
Email Julie, jmaclellan@newwestrecord.ca

 

 

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