Rain­bow Flag raised over Mar­ket Square

Southwest Booster - - FRONT PAGE - SCOTT AN­DER­SON SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

The Pride rain­bow flag was raised above Mar­ket Square dur­ing a his­tor­i­cal cer­e­mony in Swift Cur­rent on May 29.

As was fre­quently men­tioned dur­ing a lunch hour cer­e­mony, the flag rais­ing re­flects shift­ing at­ti­tudes to­wards the LGBTQ (Les­bian, Gay, Bi­sex­ual, Trans and Queer) com­mu­nity in Swift Cur­rent.

Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor of Saskatchewan Vaughn Solomon Schofield spoke be­fore the flag rais­ing about the im­por­tance of the day.

“As men­tioned, change is of­ten slow in com­ing, but we must never, ever for­get how far we’ve ac­tu­ally come. And the rea­son we’ve come so far is thanks to all the coura­geous mem­bers of the LGBTQ com­mu­nity who have faced re­jec­tion and prej­u­dice, share their sto­ries and share their lives. You are deeply, deeply in­spir­ing to me, and I thank you all for mak­ing our com­mu­ni­ties that much bet­ter.”

The Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor ad­mit­ted there is still lots of work to be done in or­der to cre­ate truly in­clu­sive com­mu­ni­ties, but she is grate­ful for the al­lies who sup­port this mis­sion of pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion and trans­for­ma­tion.

“Pride Week is about cel­e­brat­ing the di­ver­sity that makes life so won­der­ful. It’s about bring­ing peo­ple to­gether to cre­ate un­der­stand­ing. It’s about elim­i­nat­ing fear. And Pride Week is about cre­at­ing a coun­try where we can all say this is who I am and I be­long here.”

An­drea Mccrim­mon, chair of South­west Saskatchewan Pride, said there has been over­whelm­ing re­sponse since the un­veil­ing of the list of events for Swift Cur­rent’s first ever Pride Week.

The goal of the week is to bring vis­i­bil­ity to Swift Cur­rent’s LGBTQ com­mu­nity, and high­light the city as an in­clu­sive and di­verse com­mu­nity. How­ever, Mccrim­mon said that some peo­ple re­main hes­i­tant in sup­port­ing the ini­tia­tive.

“Many peo­ple say that they have no prob­lem with LGBTQ peo­ple, but wish that we ‘wouldn’t be in their faces’ about it. I would like to ex­plain what that’s prob­lem­atic.

“Be­ing hid­den within our com­mu­nity is dam­ag­ing. And be­ing silent about our lives cre­ates shame. And in 2017, the time for be­ing hid­den away is over. And the idea that we should feel ashamed is not true,” she said to loud ap­plause.

“We are priv­i­leged to live in a coun­try where gen­der and sex­ual di­ver­sity is pro­tected un­der the Hu­man Rights Code. And we can­not take that priv­i­lege for granted.”

“The vis­i­bil­ity of our LGBTQ com­mu­nity is im­por­tant in small cities like Swift Cur­rent and in ru­ral Saskatchewan be­cause it has a pro­tec­tive ef­fect on other mem­bers of our com­mu­nity, and it cre­ates a safe space where peo­ple can be them­selves no mat­ter their gen­der iden­tity, or sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion. And the broader com­mu­nity be­comes more will­ing to stand up to pro­tect their LGBTQ friends, neigh­bours and fam­ily mem­bers, both here and around the world, from ha­rass­ment, vi­o­lence, dis­crim­i­na­tion and ex­clu­sion.

“And we are here today in Mar­ket Square to demon­strate that small towns like Swift Cur­rent have prom­i­nent LGBTQ role mod­els and com­mu­nity lead­ers, and we have the sup­port of our city and of our com­mu­nity.”

Swift Cur­rent Mayor De­nis Per­rault said the City was hon­oured to have of­fi­cially pro­claimed Pride Week dur­ing their past Coun­cil meet­ing. He pointed out the ini­tia­tive to in­stall Saskatchewan’s first per­ma­nent Pride cross­walk has at­tracted na­tional cov­er­age.

“Swift Cur­rent is a pro­gres­sive com­mu­nity that cel­e­brates di­ver­sity and sup­ports all of its peo­ple. We’re so proud to be a safe and car­ing com­mu­nity, and we be­lieve that today and this week helps us achieve that end,” Per­rault said.

He saluted South­west Saskatchewan Pride for their lead­er­ship and vi­sion and tire­less ef­forts in mak­ing Pride Week 2017 a re­al­ity in the com­mu­nity.

“I do re­ally hope that the progress we’ve made to­gether spurs on sim­i­lar ef­forts in cities across Saskatchewan.”

Mccrim­mon added that the week is tak­ing ground break­ing steps to­wards mak­ing Swift Cur­rent a safe and in­clu­sive com­mu­nity.

“The rain­bow cross­walk is a pow­er­ful sym­bol that things are chang­ing for the bet­ter in Saskatchewan.”

She said this shift in at­ti­tude is not just oc­cur­ring in large cen­tres, but is also be­com­ing a re­al­ity in small town Saskatchewan.

“It’s OK to be your­self. We are here to sup­port each other in build­ing a di­verse and in­clu­sive and safe com­mu­nity for ev­ery­body.”

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