Skateboarders who frequent The Edge Skatepark in Winnipeg are rallying against The Edge, the organization that runs the park, after it denied LGBTQ+ skaters a weekly skate night for members of their community.
In a report from the CBC, Maddy Nowasad, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, often found herself at The Edge Skatepark where she made friends and found a sense of community. After realizing she didn’t fit the standard image of a skater, she developed a zine called The Other Skaters that aims to “support and promote 2SLGBTQ+, non-binary, and women skaters,” according to the zine’s Instagram page.
In addition to the zine, Nowasad pitched a weekly skate night for the LGBTQ+ community, which The Edge, an arm of the Youth For Christ Winnipeg, rejected.
“As soon as I was told that the zine and the 2SLGBTQ-centred sessions and events weren’t welcome in this space, that was the first time that I realized that it wasn’t actually a safe space,” Nowosad told CBC.
Controversy surrounding The Edge isn’t particularly new, either. In 2020, Emilie Rafnson, a former employee at The Edge, filed a human rights complaint against Youth For Christ Winnipeg and recently reached a settlement, which Rafnson is unable to discuss due to a condition in the agreement. Since then, Rafnson has not returned to skate at The Edge.
“It sucks because it’s a really great park and I have a lot of good memories there and I’ve met a lot of good people and I have a lot of friends that I’ve met because of it,” they told CBC. “But just because of the mental toll that the whole ordeal has taken on me […] it’s just really not a space that I’m comfortable being in.”
In an Instagram post, Nowasad’s The Other Skaters announced it will begin working with the Manitoba Skateboarding Coalition to create this new park.
Nowasad and Rafnson have since joined forces to help create a new indoor inclusive skatepark.