GALA/LA would like to to address some concerns that seem to have emerged within the community regarding a couple of issues.
First GALA/LA would like to clarify that we work with every one of the growing mosaic of LGBTQ organizations in Lethbridge and others in Calgary, Medicine Hat and beyond. We continue to respond to requests for support and sponsorship by providing money, volunteers and supplies and equipment when asked. There is not a single support request that GALA/LA has not responded to positively. And even beyond our community, partnerships with organizations in the larger community continue to increase. That rich mosaic of groups each has their own mandate, structure and process. Each is responsible to their own membership as determined by the structure that they developed and GALA/LA supports and affirms the autonomy each group maintains.
The second subject where it seems some concern has arisen is around the same-sex dances held in November. First, the women’s dance was held at the request of a number of women in the community and was in fact very well received. The event had about 50 people present and was successful enough that many attendees, some of whom were at their very first GALA dance, asked that the event be repeated.
The men’s dance was a response to requests by several GALA/LA members, asking that we also hold a men’s dance if we held a women’s dance. Perhaps the reason for the limited response was due to the difficult weather or maybe the men’s community here really isn’t interested in men’s only events that are so popular in larger centres. Many of the men in attendance had genuinely looked forward to it and regardless of the reason people chose not to attend, GALA/LA was responding to input from its community.
The New Year's Event was also a request from some members of the community but low ticket sales meant that GALA/LA had to make a decision to be financially responsible and cancel the event. Perhaps the reality is that LGBTQ people do not need dances of their own in the same way that they did even three or four years ago. We are hearing that the queer community in Lethbridge can and DO openly attend other events and dance establishments and that is something that we should celebrate. But for those who do enjoy dancing and spending time in “queer” space, mark your calendars....the next GALA/LA dance is scheduled for Saturday, January 22!
Finally, as 2010 comes to a close, we want to share with you all the many accomplishments, successes and amazing steps forward that GALA/LA has made in the past eight months, each one of them with you, the members of the LGBTQ community in mind.