A new initiative hitting Fort McMurray is looking to make LGBTQ+ individuals feel comfortable in the community.
Pride YMM is looking for businesses to take part in their ‘Rainbow Spaces’ Program.
Like the ‘Block Parent’ initiative, businesses and organizations will receive a decal showcasing the fact they promote inclusiveness while offering a safe place for anyone in the LGBTQ+ community.
Committee Member Jason Beck tells Mix News this will help reduce fear, anxiety, and harassment while increasing awareness.
“This is one of the things we’ve wanted to do to help members of our community feel safe and to know where they can go, where it’s a safe place for them to be.”
Beck notes he’s heard many stories, not specifically in Fort McMurray, of people being harassed or were asked to leave businesses because of their sexual orientation.
“We want to be able to promote those organizations and businesses within Wood Buffalo that do want to make sure everyone is included, everyone feels safe, everyone feels like they belong.”
Meanwhile, committee member Caitlin Downie says organizations will need to meet certain criteria to be eligible for the program.
This includes using gender-inclusive language for employee forms, allowing people to use the washroom they identify with and having an anti-discrimination policy in place.
‘We wanted to make sure the organizations that are receiving that recognition have made specific steps to make the safe space more inclusive for LGBTQ individuals.”
“There are lots of cities that have done similar programs throughout Alberta and throughout Canada,” said Downie.
She adds upwards of 10 businesses have already shown interest in joining the program.
Groups looking to be a part of the initiative can message Pride YMM through their Facebook page or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.