Premier Wade MacLauchlan left participants at a Gender Sexuality Alliance conference Saturday at UPEI with a message of hope.MacLauchlan, Canada’s first openly gay male premier, received big applause when he invited them to celebrate who they are.”The most important contributor to real change, is to be authentic, to be proud, to be confident and to move forward,” he said.

His speech made an impression on Tyler Murnaghan of Pride PEI. “It means a lot,” he said. “I was in high school only four, five years ago, there was no gay premier, there was no Pride PEI, there was nothing.” Elyse Cottrell of the UPEI Rainbow Alliance said MacLauchlan is a good role model.

“To see somebody who has been the president of the university and now the premier of the province, who is in a relationship with his partner, to have somebody in that position, it gives people hope and a sense they can accomplish important and really good things in life,” she said.

More than 100 people registered to participate in the Gender Sexuality Alliance conference, about double the turnout from last year.

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