The Forsbergs

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Author: Bonnie Heilman & Jack Saddleback

The Saskatoon Pride Festival is a family affair. Like the Forsbergs, many families attend the Pride Parade together, including the family of Mayor Charlie Clark. For Skylar Forsberg, 16, the parade is a place where she feels happy and safe, not like an outcast but welcomed and celebrated.

In recent years, the Pride Festival has welcomed youth and their families to many events, like drag shows and dances organized for youth by youth and the Pride Family BBQ. In addition to Pride events, Saskatchewan also offers Camp Caterpillar at Camp Christopher, which Fran initiated to ensure that her two gender creative children would have a safe, inclusive place to go to summer camp.

The Forsbergs have a habit of initiating things. In 2014, they filed a human rights complaint that resulted in the Government of Saskatchewan allowing for the removal of gender markers on birth certificates. With that victory, they joined a proud history of Saskatchewan trailblazers, consistently carving out space on the prairies, pushing for rights and recognition. In 2004, five couples challenged the provincial government and achieved the right to same-gender marriage. In 2014, the Time 4 Rights campaign led by the Gender Equality Society of Saskatchewan succeeded in changing Saskatchewan’s human rights code to explicitly protect transgender people. And in 2015, the trans pride flag was raised at the Saskatchewan Legislature, marking the first time the flag was flown at a provincial capital in Canada.

Celebrating and preserving the stories and accomplishments of 2SLGBTQ+ people on the prairies, Saskatoon Pride co-hosts Spark Your Pride with the Western Development Museum. Moved online for the pandemic, the inaugural event in 2019 took place in-person at the museum. Jack Saddleback shared stories as a Cree, Two Spirit, Transgender man dedicated to decolonization and reconciliation for Two Spirit communities. And Valerie Korinek spoke on her book Prairie Fairies: A History of Queer Communities and People in Western Canada, 1930 – 1985.

Prairie Fairies

Saskatoon’s 2SLGBTQ+ community has rich social and political histories. During non-pandemic times, stop by Coffee Row for some first-hand stories. Or for self-guided experience, pop the Saskatoon Homo Hike onto your phone for a tour of significant sites. The route winds through the Downtown and Riversdale business districts where you’ll find many of Saskatoon’s best restaurants and shops to enjoy along the way.

For a family-friendly and budget-friendly spot a bit off the beaten path, Fran recommends Taliyah’s Southern Grill. She also invites you to visit the Grosvenor Park United Church, a church community that is so very clear in its stance on inclusion, you can go there to find that safe and welcoming feeling of the pride parade all year round.

Whether you’re a Queer parent, grandparent, auntie, or uncle or you’re a straight parent of a Gender-creative child, we would love to have your family join us for The Saskatoon Pride Festival. It’s happening online again for this year, but it’s never too soon to start planning your family trip for 2022!