The annual Calgary Pride Festival kicks off this Friday and, as a show of support, a Calgary Transit bus has been wrapped in a symbol of inclusiveness, but at least one driver does not want to be at its helm.
The rainbow flag bus will operate through September 7, the day of the Calgary Pride Parade. The bus will not have a constant, designated route and will be rotated between a number of routes situated throughout the city.
Calgary Transit will announce the rainbow bus’s scheduled routes each day on the Calgary Transit website and on Twitter.
The $9,000 cost of the bus wrap was paid for by Pattison Signs.
Calgary Pride’s director of govenment affairs, Craig Sklenar, says the bus is a symbol of progress.
‘It’s a sign of the change in Calgary,” said Sklenar. “There’s still much to do in as much as LGBTQ rights are concerned but we are excited there is such public displays of pride across the city over the next few weeks.”
Not everyone is a fan of the temporary Pride-friendly addition to the Calgary Transit fleet.
“I’m concerned that if I say that this bus is against my beliefs that I might not have a job,” said Jesse Rau, who has worked for Calgary Transit as a driver for about a year. “I’m a Christian so, as a Christian, there are things like homosexuality that I just can’t condone. Unfortunately, we live in a culture where if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, the accusation is that you hate the person.”
If assigned to drive the rainbow bus, Rau says he will face a dilemma.
“I would be very respectful with dispatch,” said Rau. “There are some very amazing, respectable people that work for the City of Calgary.”
“I would go up to them very respectably and say can you please assign me another bus. I wouldn’t throw a fit or protest or get angry.”
Rau says that while the bus looks beautiful but it is clearly promoting the homosexual movement that he does not want to be aligned with.
“I have a family to support and I am very concerned about losing the job, it’s something I’m very proud to be a part of, but when it goes against the most important things I stand for, or if I’m asked to compromise in such a big way for what I believe to be right, then I have to lose my job.”
“I’m put in a corner.”
Rau hopes Calgary Transit and the Amalgamated Transit Union will support the requests of drivers who do not wish to drive the rainbow bus.