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People hold pride flags while attending a rally against the Saskatchewan government's proposed legislation on pronoun policy in front of the provincial legislature in Regina on Oct. 10.Heywood Yu/The Canadian Press

An organizer with Regina’s Pride parade says she was surprised to get an application from the governing Saskatchewan Party asking to take part in the event next month.

Riviera Bonneau, co-chair for Queen City Pride, says it was hard to understand why some legislature members would want to march in the parade, when their actions over the last year contradict support for the LGBTQ+ community.

“We all felt a little frustrated and confused and a little ick about it,” Bonneau said Monday.

“You can’t pretend you’re our ally, join our parade and do this whole thing while actively hurting members of our community.”

Queen City Pride announced Monday it has barred Saskatchewan Party politicians from participating in Pride festivities because of a law that prevents children under 16 from changing their names or pronouns at school without parental consent.

Premier Scott Moe’s government passed the legislation last year, arguing parents should have a role in decisions their children make at school.

The Saskatchewan Party did not immediately respond to a request for comment over its rejected Pride parade application.

Queen City Pride also announced it will not hold a flag-raising ceremony with MLAs outside the legislature for Pride month.

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“We will not allow them to masquerade as allies and supporters, then put our community in danger for the other eleven months of the year,” the organization said in a news release.

Bonneau said the ban isn’t meant to be exclusionary.

“We’re setting out to make a group of people – who have felt excluded and hurt – feel safe, comfortable and loved,” she said.

“A lot of people reached out and said that if the Sask. Party is there, like they normally are, they won’t feel that way.”

Bonneau said the group’s board discussed a ban in October after the province introduced the legislation and invoked the notwithstanding clause, a rare measure that allows provincial governments to override certain Charter rights for up to five years.

She said the board was optimistic the province would change course.

“We just kept hoping that they would do the right thing and see that this is damaging to a lot of youth. And that just wasn’t the case. So this is the path that we've chosen.”

Some Saskatchewan Party politicians have taken part in Pride parades in Regina and Saskatoon in recent years.

Moe appeared in the Saskatoon parade four years ago.

Bonneau said this year’s parade in Regina will feel “more important” because of the pronoun law.

Some of those marching have upgraded their floats and signs to show they’re supportive of the LGBTQ+ community, she added.

Leading the parade will be transgender youth.

“They’re very excited, and we'll have signage stating the bill isn’t helpful,” Bonneau said.

“We try not to bring politics into our festival, because it’s a time for ’love is love’ and to be happy. But what’s happening right now in our political climate is important (to acknowledge).”

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