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'Things have been changing': Pembina Valley Pride standing up to hate

Hundreds of people gathered to show support after a small community experienced homophobic hate acts during Pride month.

Some Pembina Valley residents say they've witnessed acts of homophobic and transphobic hate during pride month in Morden.

Minister Carrie Martens says her united church in Morden, Pembina Parish, was vandalized earlier in June. Its pride decorations were torn down.

“They were up for a day and a half and overnight they were torn down and strewn around the block,” Martens said. “We just got up the next morning and put them right back up again.”

She says she wasn’t surprised it happened.

“You want to believe otherwise about your community. We know there are so many supportive people but we also know there are people who are afraid and really angry.”

The church is not the only place that was attacked. Pembina Valley Pride’s CEO Peter Wohlgemut says they've been told other decorations have been torn down in the southern Manitoba city - and a vehicle was spray painted with a homophobic slur.

“It’s gotten some people to put up flags that may not have put them up before,” said Wohlgemut. “It kind of fosters connection and a lot of people saying 'no that doesn't represent our community.'”

Wohlgemut was concerned there was a chance protesters would show up at pride celebrations this weekend. Pembina Valley Pride’s parade had extra security on hand Saturday, donated by Pride Winnipeg.

Hundreds of people came to show their support.

“If someone does approach you to argue or goad you or try and get an argument going verbally or by trying to show a pamphlet in your hands - ignore them,” Wohlgemut said during the event's opening remarks.

During the celebration, a motorcycle would not wait for the parade and drove through it to cross the street.

Martens said the parade showed queer Pembina Valley residents they are not alone.

“Today is for the rainbow community and to celebrate who the rainbow community is. And to remind everyone that there is support when it doesn't feel like it's supportive,” Martens said.

Drag queens The Yellow Belle and Peachy Keen were among the event's performers.

“I hope that people learn to love and people learn to accept,” The Yellow Belle said.

Wohlgemut is hopeful, “Things have been changing in the Pembina Valley.” Top Stories

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