Moose Jaw has a long history of gender and sexual diversity! See a brief summary of this history below:
Many First Nations traditional beliefs include(ed) an openness towards gender-diverse expression and sexuality. By the 1930s, most of these traditions had been forced into hiding or eradicated in North America. Today, some First Nations people have revived this tradition and use the term Two Spirit to describe their sexual orientation and/or gender.
1881 – Moose Jaw was registered as a town by settlers. In these early pioneer days, men outnumbered women 2:1 and male homosexual sex was relatively common and well tolerated—but not openly discussed.
1920s – SK court records indicate the development of a male homosexual sex trade around Moose Jaw’s River Street. There were no laws prohibiting lesbianism at the time.
1969 – Homosexuality was decriminalized in Canada by Trudeau’s Liberal government. On June 28, riots erupted in New York City after a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, the largest gay bar in the U.S. at the time. Many Pride festivals around the world celebrate the anniversary of this resistance to persecution.
1978 – Well-known anti-gay crusader, Anita Bryant, visited Moose Jaw on a “Save Our Children” campaign. 85 lesbian and gay protestors marched down Main St. to Crescent Park where 150 gathered to speak out against Bryant.
1993 – The first celebration of Moose Jaw Gay and Lesbian Pride Weekend included a BBQ & dance with over 240 attendees. Sexual orientation was included in the SK human rights legislation 3 days later by Romanow’s NDP.
1994 – AIDS Moose Jaw was formed and provided a drop-in centre and public education on HIV/AIDS prevention for students and healthcare workers.
2004 – GLAMj was formed and held a Pride Dance at the Golden Nugget Center with 100 attendees. Over the years, GLAMj has provided many services such as coffee nights, movie nights and potlucks. Same-sex marriage was passed in SK when federal Liberals and provincial NDP were in power.
2008 – GLAMj requested the first official proclamation of Pride Week and raised the Rainbow Flag over Moose Jaw’s City Hall for the first time.
2012 – TransSask Support Services organized Moose Jaw’s first Transgender Awareness Week.
2014 – Moose Jaw Pride is incorporated as a non-profit organization. Moose Jaw Parks & Recreation approved a small grant for Moose Jaw Pride Week 2014 – the first grant specifically targeted at Gender & Sexual Diversity ever awarded by the City of Moose Jaw.
To see how Moose Jaw’s history of gender and sexual diversity developed in the province of Saskatchewan visit:
Check out this zine on the history of LGBT activism and organizing in Moose Jaw:
Listen to this brief history of Gender & Sexual Diversity in Moose Jaw, presented at Moose Jaw Pride Week 2013!