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Winnipeggers gather for National Rainbow Week of Action rally

More than 60 people rallied for 2SLGBTQ+ rights at the Manitoba Legislative Building to round out the National Week of Rainbow Action on May 19, 2024. (CTV News/Alexandra Holyk) More than 60 people rallied for 2SLGBTQ+ rights at the Manitoba Legislative Building to round out the National Week of Rainbow Action on May 19, 2024. (CTV News/Alexandra Holyk)
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Dozens of demonstrators gathered at the Manitoba Legislative Building Sunday for a rainbow equality rally in support of the 2SLGBTQ+ community.

The rally rounded off the National Rainbow Week of Action – a movement organized by Momentum Canada that aims to bring attention to rising hate and advocate for freedom and equality across the country.

It also came just days after the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia on May 17.

“2SLGBTQI+ folks – our rights and our lives are a really hot topic for political debate right now,” said rally co-organizer Mikayla Hunter. “We need to encourage our elected officials and other voters to make sure that they're keeping this front of mind as we go into election seasons.”

Several Canadian political leaders have been criticized for their stance and policy proposals when it comes to the queer community, particularly trans youth. Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre has also received backlash for his comments against transgender women in female spaces and sports.

“We have to make sure that we're also still staying vigilant of what's happening at a national level, what's happening on an international level,” Hunter said.

Organizers also spoke about representation on a provincial level, referring to 2SLGBTQ+ members of the Manitoba legislative assembly such as Logan Oxenham, the province’s first transgender MLA, and Uzoma Asagwara, who is non-binary.

“When Wab Kinew made (Asagwara) the deputy premier and the minister for health, I honestly, I cried because I had never felt more safe in Manitoba than I had in that moment,” Hunter said.

While Hunter acknowledged the support from the provincial government, she said Manitobans need to be reminded that anti-2SLGBTQ+ hate is still on the rise in other parts of the country, especially as Canadians prepare to celebrate Pride Month in June.

“If allies are going to come to pride and have a great time with us, we want them to be able to come to the ballot box with us and show that commitment to us on the ballot.”

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