Pride and Transgender flags wave on the lawn of Fernie's City Hall. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)

Fernie Pride to look at inclusivity across Elk Valley

The local LGBTQ2 society received a grant from the federal government to undertake a community study

  • Feb. 16, 2021 12:00 a.m.

The Fernie Pride Society has embarked on a wide-ranging study into community capacity and LGBTQ2 inclusivity within the Elk Valley thanks to a Federal grant.

Fernie Pride, along with 75 other LGBTQ2 organizations throughout Canada received funding from the Canadian government as part of its program to support community-led projects.

Courtney Baker of Fernie Pride said they would be using the grant – some $57,139 – to take a magnifying glass to the challenges and barriers in place to the LGBTQ2 community in the Elk Valley.

“On the surface, particularly this year, there’s been really strong support (for the LGBTQ2 community)”, said Baker.

“But we honestly don’t know what exists below the surface.”

Baker said that Fernie Pride would be looking at what support and inclusivity initiatives exist throughout the valley in major employers, municipal governments and generally throughout society, along with interviews with members of the community to gauge how the Elk Valley is tracking.

“From there we will hopefully discover the barriers to inclusivity and then come out with a really defined picture of what currently exists, and where the Elk Valley needs to go in terms of inclusivity initiatives and what we can do to advocate for those, and then create stronger networks,” she said.

Baker said that work was already underway, and they had a goal of completing the study by the end of 2021, or early 2022. The result would be information and resources that can help organizations within the Elk Valley work to ensure everyone in the wider community was welcome and engaged.

“Engagement and participation is key to how we can successfully do this project.”

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