A new campaign is setting up LGBT-friendly businesses and community spaces in the Ottawa area with “Proud City” stickers to let people know where they can go to feel safe and supported.
The Ottawa-based Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity is organizing the campaign, which puts a sticker or poster with a rainbow logo in the shape of the City of Ottawa on a door or window of an interested space, which is then listed on its website.
Nearly 60 shops, restaurants, political offices and a church have signed up as of Sunday afternoon.
The centre said many businesses around the area of Bank and Somerset streets put up flags in August for Pride, but this is a way to organize in a way that helps locals, tourists and businesses across the region.
“The idea of being able to tell people where they can find safe spaces as well as celebrating the businesses that are willing to say they’re inclusive and welcoming to the LGBTQ population is a great thing,” said Valerie Warmerdam, a coordinator with the centre.
Lets spaces show what they already do
The manager of the Canopy and Ciel shops on Richmond Road in Westboro said she had no reason to say no to the campaign when she was recently approached.
“It’s something we’ve always been supportive of and [the] visibility is also key,” said MaryAnne Petrella.
“To have something in the window that people can see and understand they can come into our shop and be treated with respect and to know they’re in a supportive space is really important to us.”
The campaign has also been introducing people to the training the centre does about how to be a welcoming, safe space for people of all gender identities, Warmerdam said.
“It looks like people not judging. It’s people just letting people be who they are,” she said.
“When you walk into a business you don’t want to be asked why you look different to them, you don’t want to be told your kind isn’t welcomed here. It’s not a fun thing to happen and it happens to plenty of people.”
Businesses and organizations who are interested can go to the centre’s website for more information or get a free ticket to the campaign’s launch party at the Lansdowne Park Whole Foods from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Ottawa’s Capital Pride festival runs from Aug. 21 to 27.