Winnipeg Airports Authority is celebrating Pride Season in style by giving Manitoba’s unofficial welcome mat a makeover.
Two rainbow-themed Hug Rugs have been unveiled at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport, temporarily replacing the usual blue circular carpets at the bottom of the Arrivals Hall escalator and outside the exit of the Customs Hall. The switch is part of WAA’s renewed focus on making YWG more reflective of all the diverse communities that it serves, with the ambition of ensuring that every traveller, visitor, and airport employee feels welcomed, respected, and accepted.
With the assistance of the Rainbow Resource Centre’s expertise and guide, WAA has begun to identify and remove unnecessarily gendered language in the terminal, among other initiatives to make the airport experience more inclusive. The partnership also saw the Rainbow Resource Centre facilitate a workshop to teach WAA employees about the lived experience of 2SLGBTQI+ people and help them understand the important distinctions between sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, and ways to continue to create a safe and respectful workplace.
To kick off Pride Season at the beginning of June, WAA employees walked in the Winnipeg Pride parade, standing proudly amongst other community members and allies. An event was also held in the terminal in collaboration with the Rainbow Resource Centre to share pride, pronoun, and rainbow-themed Hug Rug pins with travellers and airport employees. As Pride Month comes to a close, WAA is looking forward to continuing to work with community leaders throughout the entire year to remove barriers and make its spaces more welcoming to all.