Transgender pride flag flies over Yellowknife city hall for first time

For the first time in Yellowknife's history, a flag celebrating the rights and pride of transgender people has been raised over city hall.

Flag was raised over city hall to celebrate transgender awareness week

Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife Executive Director Chelsea Thacker, left, speaks to a crowd gathered at city hall before the flag is raised. Yellowknife Mayor Rebecca Alty stands on the right, in the purple jacket. (Randall McKenzie/CBC)

For the first time in Yellowknife's history, a flag celebrating the rights and pride of transgender people has been raised over city hall.

The blue, pink and white flag — the blue stripes are meant to represent boys, the pink stripes girls, and the white stripe in the centre those that are nonbinary — was raised in celebration of Transgender Awareness Week.

The week is being marked this week in the city through numerous events organized by the Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife.

"It's really exciting," said Chelsea Thacker, the executive director of the Rainbow Coalition. "We're finally showing that visual representation of the trans- and gender-nonconforming community."

The transgender pride flag flies over city hall, where it will stay for the week. (Randall McKenzie/CBC)

Yellowknife Mayor Rebecca Alty said raising the flag showed the progress the territory has made toward inclusion, pointing out several LGBTQ student associations in N.W.T. schools. She said the city was more than happy to raise the flag after being approached by the Rainbow Coalition this year.

"Really seeing the celebration across the Northwest Territories is great," said Alty.

'The more visibility there is, the better'

Greyson Gritt, a transgender artist and activist, was outside city hall for the flag-raising. 

"I'm pretty proud of the city of Yellowknife for doing this," said Gritt. "This is kind of a symbolic commitment to saying that we know that you're here, and we respect you, and we're going to work hard for you. So that's really great."

During the week, the Rainbow Coalition is planning several events, including a vigil on Tuesday for the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Gritt says that although it may have taken longer than they hoped to have the flag raised above the city, they are grateful for the visibility — and the conversation it will generate.

Greyson Gritt, a local artist and activist, said that they were happy to see the flag being raised over city hall. 'The more we talk about it, the more visibility there is, the better.' (Randall McKenzie/CBC)

"The more we talk about it, the more visibility that there is, the better," they said. "It will permeate into people's minds... People will see that and say, 'what flag is that?' They'll go home and they'll Google it and it's something they maybe would have never searched for before."

The flag will remain up outside city hall for the week, and Alty said it will likely return in future years.

"As long as the Rainbow Coalition wants us to raise the flag, we're more than happy to," she said.

With files from Sidney Cohen