Sask. LGBT leaders embrace #myfirstgaybar online

A social media hashtag is bringing together LGBT people from across the province.

Organizers say bars important safe spaces for many

(Submitted by Caroline Cottrell)

When Jack Saddleback saw the hashtag #myfirstgaybar on social media, he knew he had to get the word out.

Saddleback, former president of the University of Saskatchewan Students' Union and advocate for transgender people, said gay bars are an important part of life for many LGBT people.

The hashtag is now spreading across the continent on Facebook and Twitter.

"I thought, it's an amazing way to come together as a queer community just to reminisce about our own times when it comes to our first gay bar experience," he said. "And, how important it is to have a friendly, safe environment for queer individuals."

That sense of safety is even more important after this weekend's mass shooting in Orlando that killed 49 people in a gay bar.

"It's a way for us to come together after such a hard weekend," he said. "We have a long history of violence when it comes to our queer spaces, but at the same time, we have a lot of memories of good places for us."

Other notable LGBT leaders weigh in