Moose Jaw is set for its biggest Pride Week in the history of the city, according to Moose Jaw Pride Chair Joe Wickenhauser.
© Submitted photo
Mayor Deb Higgins (centre-front) signs a proclamation declaring May 14 to 20 as Moose Jaw Pride Week for Gender and Sexual Diversity. Also in the photo (left to right, back to front): Michelle Chow, Sarah Simison, Erin Hidlebaugh and Lennon Atkinson, Dale Hall and Terrylynn Drysdale.
“This is the largest Pride Week I’ve ever seen in Moose Jaw’s history, and I’ve done quite a bit of research on it,” he told the Times-Herald. “This is the first time our Pride Week has gone beyond one, two or maybe three events. We have a full line-up of 10 or 14, depending on how you count them — this year.”
Wickenhauser noted that the initiative capitalized on “last year’s success” to build support and establish partnerships with various community organizations and businesses, including the Tunnels of Moose Jaw, the Moose Jaw Public Library, the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery, and the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre.
The week begins May 14 with an evening lecture Wickenhauser is delivering himself on the history of gender and sexual diversity in Moose Jaw, titled Hidden Histories. It will be held at 7 p.m. in the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery.
But Wickenhauser said he is “personally very excited” about Gender Blender Bowling — an event being held at 8 p.m. on May 17 at South Hill Bowling.
“It’s a pretty simple event … We’re encouraging people to be themselves — or someone else. They can dress in drag or a costume and just have fun,” he said.
The event is free for people 24 and under, which Wickenhauser said he hopes will be a selling point — particularly for the Friendly City’s younger citizens.
“I know Moose Jaw doesn’t have any Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) at the moment, so this might be an opportunity for people to connect with one another and realize they aren’t the only ones,” he said.
That same spirit of connection and encouragement of conversation permeates the entire week, Wickenhauser suggested, with additional events like the Discussing Diversity, human library project and the Coming Out from the Underground, a two-part event, standing out as particular examples.
“It provides a chance for people to come together, express themselves and talk about gender and sexual diversity,” he said. “That’s really the focus of this week’s events.
“The focus is really on building our community,” added Wickenhauser. “I think a big part of that is breaking down the barriers of stereotypes and starting those discussions.”
For more information and a complete schedule of Pride Week events, visit the website at MooseJaw Pride.ca.
Justin Crann can be reached at 306-691-1265 or follow him on Twitter @J_Crann