Joe Wickenhauser has been hired as the executive director of the territory’s first Pride Centre.
The establishment of the Pride Centre was announced last month by the Queer Yukon Society and All Genders Yukon with the aim of providing a safe and visible space for the LGTBQ2S+ communities.
A national search then got underway for the first executive director with Wickenhauser selected from among 30 applicants.
“Thanks to the support of the Yukon Government, we are thrilled to be able to hire someone with a proven track record of working collaboratively with rural LGBTQ2S+ communities to identify and establish needed programs and services,” Queer Yukon president Chris Boodram said in a statment.
Wickenhauser is the co-founder of Moose Jaw Pride, which started as a festival but also developed to include a community drop-in centre, provincial network of pride organizations and a thrift shop. The group has also partnered with other organizations to offer workshops, educational programming and supports. Along with his work at Moose Jaw Pride, Wickenhauser has also promoted LGBTQ2S+ history through walking tours, presentations, and curating Saskatchewan’s first permanent exhibit on gender and sexual diversity at the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery.
He also took on a lead role in developing the “Time 4 Rights” social media campaign and has received a number of awards for his work.
Most recently, he’s worked as the tourism development manager for Fierté Canada Pride along with providing support to a number of pride organizations as they deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
He’s currently based in Kelowna, B.C., where he works remotely, but is planning to relocate to Whitehorse in the summer.
Wickenhauser plans to spend the coming weeks continuing to connect with people in the LGBTQ2S+ community and other community leaders throughout the territory.
“As a newcomer to Yukon, it’s really important for me to take the time to engage with and learn from the community I will be serving — I’m really looking forward to the incredible things we’ll be able to accomplish together,” he said.
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