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Councillor to march for Castlegar in Gay Pride parade; Element takes heat for supporting Pride event

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
August 23rd, 2012

Castlegar city councillor Deb McIntosh will be carrying Castlegar’s banner in Nelson’s Gay Pride parade along Baker Street this Sunday at 3 p.m.

“I’ll be attending the Castlegar Gay Pride event in Castlegar, too,” she said, referring to an event slated for Aug. 30 at 10 p.m. at the Element downtown.

McIntosh said she isn’t aware of any other councillors who may be joining her in the parade, but she welcomes anyone who would like to represent Castlegar with her in Nelson – and she said she’s unconcerned about any political backlash her actions may bring.

“Even if I got kicked off of council for it, I’d think it was absolutely worth it,” she said. “I’d rather stand up for what’s right than for what’s politically correct.

“And this is just what’s right … it just is,” she added.

Element owner Florio Vassilakakis said he’s already fielded some commercial backlash for hosting the Aug. 30 event at his club, but he’s prepared to accept that.

Vassilakakis said a customer even went out of his way to drop by in person to let Element owners know how deeply he opposes the company’s support of what the customer called “the gay industry”.

“He believes, vehemently, that gay people are turned gay by other gay people – that they prey on young people’s naivete,” Vassilakakis said, adding the customer expounded on this theme at some length.

“It’s disappointing that some people would go out of their way to condemn (these events and the gay community), especially in this day and age,” Vassilakakis said. “We decided, as a business, that this is the right thing to do. As a venue, we support a variety of community events and organizations, including this one.”

He also said he expects he will lose a handful of customers over the issue – but he hopes businesses would lose more support for opposing Pride events than for supporting them.

“I don’t want to alienate any customers, ever … but I have to ask myself, do I really want people who think like that in my business?”

The Castlegar Source has received several private messages via Facebook from local residents opposing Gay Pride events but, in every case, the authors declined to allow their comments to be published.

 

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