Regina mayor kicks off Pride Week
Michael Fougere, first mayor in Regina's history to attend pride flag raising
The rainbow flag was raised at city hall in Regina Monday morning to kick off Pride Week.
Dozens of people showed up for the event, including Mayor Michael Fougere.
Queen City Pride Festival, better known as Pride Week, has been going on for 25 years, but this is the first time in the city's history the mayor has ever attended the kickoff.
Jett Brewer is with Queen City Pride, the group organizing this week's events.
He said the mayor's presence was an emotional experience.
"It's an affirming thing. It's a validating thing. It gives you a sense of personal power that somebody in authority realizes you exist— that you have the right to be a part of this community," said Brewer.
Fougere spoke at the flag raising today and said being there represents a change in attitude being felt in the city.
"I'm very proud of this council and this city of Regina as being very open and tolerant and understanding and actually supportive."
Others at the ceremony reflected on what Pride Week is like now compared to its early years.
"The wonderful thing is that is exactly what we were working for and in those days we thought it would never happen," said Evanna Simpson, a local LGBT activist.
Simpson worked at the University of Regina at the time and remembers the hostility organizers and supporters were met with.
Simpson also remembers when city councillors voted in favour of a pride proclamation in 1990.
"They wanted to rescind the pride proclamation that they had voted for because they were actually scared. What they didn't realize is that's of course what gay and lesbian and transgender people were facing everyday," said Simpson.
The Queen City Pride Festival is a celebration of Regina's gender and sexually diverse community and culture.
There are events throughout the week until Sunday. A list of those events can be found at www.queencitypride.ca.