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Here's a place in Canada that Freepers would feel welcome

Ralph Klein, premier of Alberta, is a strong opponent of gay marriage; people say the public trickle-down effect is reflected in intolerance toward gays.

We’ve got the Deep South stereotype, Canada has Alberta as its haven for the redneck homophobe. Not easy being gay in Alberta:

“It can be dangerous for them to kiss, hold hands, or hug in public. And members of Edmonton’s gay community say hot-button issues like same-sex marriage don’t make it any easier to live their lives in peace.

It’s gone beyond just that debate about marriage,” said Kathy Da Silva, a facilitator at a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) centre in the city, and a teacher. “There are places in Edmonton you can go, but I know two guys who were hugging on Whyte Avenue and someone yelled ‘faggot’ at them.”

…”More than anger, it makes me sad that kids have to live in a place where they have to be very sensitive to who’s around them,” Da Silva said.

Living in Alberta, with a premier who’s vowed to do anything he can to stop same-sex marriage, doesn’t make life easier, said Kris Wells, a Youth Understanding Youth group facilitator.

Being a gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans-identified person in Alberta is particularly dangerous. As a queer person, you’re acutely aware of who is behind you, ahead of you, and even beside you and inside you because of internalized homophobia,” Wells said yesterday. “When you have a premier who won’t support same-sex marriage, there is a trickle-down effect to the public.”

Around Pride Week, Wells said, and when issues like same-sex marriage heat up, the local gay community faces a heightened risk of insults and assaults.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding