I’m a long-time resident of Airdrie. I’ve been able to put down some pretty terrific roots. My family moved here in 1993. I was eight. Except for a few brief jaunts outside of the city, to Edmonton, Calgary, and Munich, I’ve lived here. Grocery trips take significantly longer most times because I run into people I know. If I stop for coffee with a friend, there’s usually another sitting at the table, or another will see us and join us through the course of our coffee. When manning a booth at AirdrieFest last month, I felt like I spent more time introducing people to my fellow Pride members than actually meeting new folks.
There’s benefits to living for a long time in one spot. As a kid, my family moved several times, and I had difficulty feeling grounded. As a teenager, I couldn’t wait to live somewhere else. I was so excited to finally make the move out of the city. And don’t get me wrong. I loved my times in the cities I lived in outside of Airdrie. I was young and single, and I met a lot of great new people, many of whom I still count as friends. But when I had my first child, it was time to move away from the noise and bustle and move back to a place that I knew intimately.
I walked my daughter to school on the same city paths that I walked on as a child. I can show my kids every short cut to every slurpee spot in town. When the long-time residents and I chat, we often refer to spots by what used to occupy them. “Oh, the library is in the old Medi-Plus”. “The jewellery store moved to where the library used to be”. “They’re building on the Old Hotel site FINALLY”.
But some of the things I love about Airdrie also make it a hard place to connect with other people. It’s quiet. People often work in Calgary. Despite the growth, there are still services that are hard to find here, and we have to travel to access them. And for the LGBTQ2A+ community, that reality is magnified.
Our goal at Airdrie Pride is to help the LGBTQ2A+ folks find their community without leaving this one. We want everyone to feel connected and comfortable. We want everyone to be able to access services in this city.
We have a plan to help that happen.
I’m so excited to show it to you.
Watch this space.
<3 Kayla (she/her)