Southwest Saskatchewan Pride hosted a flag raising event in Market Square today, officially kicking off Pride Week by hoisting their community’s symbol. 

The event was intended to promote the events that Southwest Saskatchewan Pride is putting on to bring together the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. The next event coming up will be a games night in the Pride Centre’s new downtown location at 6 p.m.

Acting Deputy Mayor Ryan Switzer gave a brief speech before raising the flag. 

“It's an event that's celebrating inclusivity and it shows Swift Current to be a welcoming community,” stated Switzer. “It's very important for us to have a community where everybody can become the best version of themselves regardless of what that looks like, and we have a very strong local pride group here that does a great job of spreading those messages of love and inclusion.” 

(Photo by Alex Kozroski)

The flag raising is not the first event that the pride group has put on for this week, as they held the Pride Centre's grand re-opening, as well as a drag themed brunch and a "Bi-cycle Ride”. 

Jesse Koethler, the Chair of Southwest Saskatchewan Pride was pleased with the success of their events so far. 

"In past years, there's been a lot of negativity,” stated Koethler. “People vandalize the crosswalk, but we're not going to stop doing it, and that's part of this pride thing. We're not going to stop because when people ask why we're doing this, they're the reason; because it's still a problem for some people. We are just going to keep being visible in the community, whether it's paint on the road, or the flag up there, or the centre where people can just be themselves.” 

(Photo by Alex Kozroski)

A new flag represented the local 2SLGBTQIA+ community this year, donning an additional set of stripes.

“Most people are familiar with the regular 6 stripe rainbow flag, which is still very prominent,” said Koethler. “A couple years ago, they came out with this progress flag. It was called the progress flag because it shines an extra light on the transgender community and the people of color that are the backbone of the pride movement.”