Elmaz Wilder, owner of Ritual Barbershop in Vernon, is challenging other local businesses to display pride this month. (Contributed)

Okanagan businessowner challenges community to display Pride

“A huge reason why I made this challenge for other business was to offer LGBTQ+ community a safe place to eat, chat, shop, and get your haircut”

One Vernon business is proudly displaying the colours of inclusivity in hopes that the rainbow will spread.

Elmaz Wilder, 26, owns Ritual Barbershop in Vernon and recently put up an LGBTQIA+ window display.

Wilder is now calling other Vernon businesses to do the same in commemoration of Pride Month.

“I want the word out there and a way to encourage our folks of Vernon to celebrate love is all forms,” Wilder said.

While noting some flags and the Safe Place sticker initiative displayed in some downtown Vernon businesses, Wilder’s goal is to ensure that these initiatives don’t lose steam, that businesses continue to show inclusivity and provide safe spaces for the LGBTQIA+ community in the area.

“This is just another reminder for people to percolate this idea that we don’t really have pride here in Vernon. When I was walking downtown, I noticed some places had a balloon or a sticker but it was just very minimal and next to nothing and this is the first full display, and I put a decal up to encourage people to make a change here in Vernon. I’m hoping that eventually we can have a pride parade here in Vernon.”

Wholesale Grafix is offering the same window decal “Love is Love from (your business)” by donation throughout Pride Month. Those interested in taking part in the challenge are asked to contact Wholesale Grafix at (250) 260-3100,

“A huge reason why I made this challenge for other business was to offer LGBTQ+ community a safe place to eat, chat, shop, and get your hair cut,” said Wilder. “It is crucial for our community to feel safe in our city.”

Related: Vernon embraces LGBTQ/2S community

Related: Trans event at Pride gives marginalized youth a community, says director

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