The Pride Report

To Whoever Has Our Flags

This past week, we were inspired by the profound love and acceptance of our community as more than a hundred gathered together to start a new chapter in the history of the Friendly City.

On Thursday, our community, our students and our teachers laughed, cheered and cried tears of joy as the Gay Straight Alliance groups made local history in raising the transgender flag and set a first for the entire province with the raising of the genderqueer flag. Just to be clear: this was the first time that the genderqueer flag has ever been raised in any public, official capacity anywhere in Saskatchewan. BOO-yeah!

We were HELLA proud of each and every person that was there and all of the love and support we received from across the province. Just when we thought the day couldn’t get any sweeter, the GSA started handing out some seriously delicious cupcakes like nobody’s business.

We locked those flags on the poles and we went our separate ways feeling inspired and knowing that we had made a huge difference in this tiny town in south central Saskatchewan.

A few days later, we found out that the flags were missing and we assumed the worst. We assumed that somebody out there wanted to hurt us and destroy everything we had worked so hard to accomplish. We imagined a bigot. We imagined a terrorist. We imagined our worst nightmares coming true and we gave into the fear and intimidation that accompanies every aspect of our lives as transgender and gender diverse people.

Once we had finished worst-case scenario-izing we realized this just wouldn’t do. We decided we weren’t going to be intimidated and we weren’t going to give up. We decided to reimagine our villains and we started to see things in a really different way.

The words of Jack Layton came to mind:

“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful, and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”

We started to imagine that maybe the person who took our flags was struggling to accept their own gender identity and expression. This might sound far-fetched at first, but think about it for a minute.

I mean seriously—you’ve got to want that badass flag pretty bad to show up in the middle of the night and shimmy up—not one, but two—gigantic flag poles! You’ve got to be dealing with some seriously dark stuff if that’s what you need to do in order to wrap yourself in one of those mega-powerful symbols of love and acceptance. And you absolutely must need that flag if you’ve got to take it all for yourself, so that it will always be near you to support you through profound feelings of fear, shame and guilt to help you survive conservative social expectations, rigid gender roles, harassment and abuse.

For many years, I felt this as I secretly cross-dressed at home. I was terrified, embarrassed, confused, and despised myself for not being like everyone else. But if I had seen those flags go up when I was a teen, if I had seen so much love from my peers, teachers, and schools like we saw at the Prairie South School Division, I would also have felt incredibly empowered and would have wanted a piece of that history too!

And of course, these kick-ass flags aren’t cheap. Many trans and gender diverse people struggle to find safe workplaces just to pay rent and put food on the table—never mind buying a giant inspiring flag!
So, for us, we’re thrilled at the possibility that these flags might be with somebody who truly needs them right now.

Besides, these flags were never ours to begin with. They were a powerful beacon of hope, inclusivity, respect, and love for EVERYBODY who calls Moose Jaw home.

So to whoever has our flags: thank you for showing us the true value of these flags and helping us realize we should have brought more than 2 flags to the party. We should have been handing them out like candy so that everybody could have their own!

In response to our egregious mistake, Moose Jaw Pride has decided to give away our entire stock of transgender and gender queer flags to anyone who would like one—ABSOLUTELY free! As we continue to celebrate Gender Diversity Awareness Week in Moose Jaw, we hope that these little flags will help you find the strength and courage to be yourself. Everyone who asks for one, will get one until we don’t have any left.

And what better place to ask for your flag than at St. Andrew’s Church this upcoming Wednesday, March 30, during Moose Jaw Pride’s office opening? We’ll be celebrating from 12pm – 1pm and all are welcome to check out our new digs. Then on Thursday, March 31, we hope you will come join us for a screening of The Danish Girl at 7:00 PM in the Moose Jaw Public Library Theatre; which will be followed by a brief panel discussion. Finally, we encourage anyone and everyone to get dressed up for our ever popular Gender Blender Bowling event at 6:45 PM in South Hill Bowling on Saturday (April 2).

Happy Gender Diversity Awareness Week, Moose Jaw!

With love, hope, and optimism,

Nillin Dennison
Chair of the Board of Directors
Moose Jaw Pride

To help Moose Jaw Pride give out more transgender and genderqueer flags, please consider making a secure online donation below:

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