By Jessica Jones
For the Independent
Organizers are hoping to bring a supportive community together with the first LGBTQ+ Meet and Greet in Stettler on Jan. 17th.
B Adair, who runs educational consulting workshops called Just B Diversity and Inclusion, moved to Stettler about a year ago. He started discussing, with co-organizer Kelsey Bignell, the need for the community to come together in a supportive and educational way. The pair decided it was high time to plan an event.
“We sort of got together and just said, ‘OK, let’s do this’,” Adair explained of collaborating with Bignell.
Adair says that the Stettler LGTBQ Community Facebook page has over 600 followers but he hadn’t seen the community coming together to host events.
“We want to bring the community together, recognize each other, and get a better sense of community,” he said.
The meet and greet is an introductory event to start support and begin the foundation to organize other events and incisive activities, but primarily it is to begin to educate people.
As a LGBTQ advocate, Adair says that there can be a lack of knowledge when it comes to the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning) community and admits that “terminology is evolving quickly.
“There are a lot of people who don’t understand what the community is like, or there can be a serious lack of knowledge, and that can be intimidating to people.
“People don’t want to say something in case they offend us so they’d rather not say anything at all, but we are really not that scary,” Adair said.
The meet and greet has had an “outpouring” of support from businesses in Stettler, many offering their spaces for free, Adair explained.
“We are hoping to make these meetings a monthly thing, maybe plan some extra events; I’d love to see a board game night, or other fun things for the community, and not just for the queer community, everyone is welcome,” Adair said.
The Facebook event for the Stettler LGBTQ+ Meet and Greet also invites, “Parents wanting to better educate themselves.”
“It is important for people to understand and appreciate that this is complicated stuff and it’s confusing stuff,” Adair, who grew up in Hardisty, about an hour east of Camrose, said.
“It takes a lot of patience to be an ally, and to take the initiative and to educate yourself. And in a small town it can be tough.
“We do live in a conservative area and it can be complicated but that is the reason I work in rural Alberta, is to break down those stereotypes,” Adair explained.
The LGTBQ+ Meet and Greet in Stettler is on Jan. 17th from 6:30 p.m to 9 p.m at the Central Alberta Business Centre, 4803 44th Ave.
People are welcome to drop in. For more information, contact B Adair at 403-741-8984, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.