A number of local dignitaries gathered today to witness the raising of the Pride flag as a recognition of an important milestone in LGBTQ+ history: the day that homosexuality was partially decriminalized in Canada, 50 years ago.
Moose Jaw Pride is one of 50 communities across Canada who joined together in raising the rainbow flag, organized as part of the national Standing By Our Colours project. The flag now flies outside of the Tourism Visitor Centre, just in time for Pride Week starting May 26.Remarks from the guest speakers included a message of community support for the work being done in the city by Moose Jaw Pride and all of their volunteers. The point of the ceremony was to recognize a moment of triumph for those who struggled to be themselves in a different time, and to remember their struggles for the future.
Tony Baldwin, director of education from Prairie South School Division, noted that while the decriminalization was likely a relief for those in 1969, it didn’t mean that things changed overnight.
Moose Jaw City Police Cheif Rick Bourassa noted that the continuation of community support for universal freedoms can only make people stronger.
“Our vision is of a community where everybody is included and everybody is free to live the way they see fit,” said Bourassa. “When we have a community that's harmonious, that's inclusive, we have a community that's safe, and that's so important. . . Today with this symbol, with this flag going up, it just reinforces that vision, and it's a constant reminder to all of us, about what our values are and what we should be working towards.”
Moose Jaw Pride executive director Joe Wickenhauser echoed that sentiment and expressed gratitude for this community.
“We had a great turnout [today] and people had some really beautiful things to say about the community and I deeply appreciate the support that we have here in Moose Jaw,” said Wickenhauser. “It's sort of nice to see how you put some work into a community and the ways that building those relationships can blossom and grow into something really beautiful.”