Small community, big pride: Investment hoped to boost LGBTQ tourism in Moose Jaw, Sask.

In a July 2018 photo, community members of Moose Jaw Pride invited the community paint the bench outside of Rainbow Retro Thrift Shop with Pride colours. Jonathan Guignard / Global News

The LGBTQ community in Moose Jaw, Sask., and its partners have received a major investment from the federal government. The non-profit organization will receive $95,000 over two years, which will go towards new spaces, experiences, and education for the community.

The investment, from Western Economic Diversification Canada, is hoped to boost tourism, create new safe spaces, and further educate the community about gender and sexual diversity.

“Our hope is that our events will draw larger crowds, that they will be engaging fun safer events, for everyone regardless of sexual and gender identity,” said Moose Jaw Pride’s new executive director, Taylor Carlson.

“We’re very excited about it,” said Carlson.

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In terms of the education, Carlson said it will “give the front-line employees an opportunity to understand the language, context, and experience of LGBTQ lives.”

That strengthened knowledge and development of the LGBTQ community will help to put it in a “position to promote ourselves in some ways as an LGBTQ positive-destination for travellers,” Carlson said.

Moose Jaw has been notably looked upon as a community with a thriving and visible LGBTQ community.

“It’s a result of smaller communities being plugged in and connected to the rest of the world through the internet, and then adults in the community — whether that’s the education or arts sector — have really allowed the young community to lead the way,” they said.

“Adults facilitate a lot of that work, but it is often driven by young people — I see a lot of that in Moose Jaw and smaller communities.”

Carlson added the investment is highly appreciated and comes as a “source of pride” for Moose Jaw’s entire community.

They said the investment means, “the folks at Western Economic Diversification Canada believe that a smaller community can engage in this work and can be a more positive safer space, place, and experience for everybody.”

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WATCH (April 2019): New Regina LGBTQ+ youth centre aims to help build community

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New Regina LGBTQ+ youth centre aims to help build community

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