Proud to see Pride flag fly 

 In Opinion

Congratulations to Councillor Connie Leishman for speaking up at Clearview’s June 25 council meeting in support of flying the Pride flag. It may have seemed like a lost cause but raising the issue once more has resulted in a July flag-raising. 

Kudos to Councillor Doug Measures who was able to make a suggestion that provided a workaround for the lack of flagpoles at town hall. 

As a result, the rainbow flag will be raised at the Joint Emergency Services hub on Highway 26.

Fierté Simcoe Pride has gone from seeing one flag flown in 2012 to a raising and/or proclamation from 22 communities in Simcoe in 2017. 

Last year Springwater flew the rainbow flag for the first time, making it the final community to support Simcoe Pride. It can now be said that all member municipalities in Simcoe, the county itself and its First Nation communities support pride in some way. 

Fierté Simcoe Pride president Brandon Rhèal Amyot said when Clearview didn’t raise the flag 2015-2017, the proclamations still counted as municipal support.

It is more meaningful to make a public display of that support by flying the colourful and highly-visible flag, holding a public flag-raising ceremony in addition to a proclamation, which is made in empty council chambers and recorded in minutes read by only a few people.

Over seven years, Fierté Simcoe Pride has worked to build a relationship with local government. They have been patient and reasonable, yet persistent. In that time we have watched communities become more inclusive and accepting of people who identify as LGBTQ+. Activists near and far are to be credited for changing societal views. 

The new provincial sexual education curriculum (now at risk of being changed) in the later elementary school grades touches on gender identity and sexual orientation, helping to open a dialogue, reduce stigma and create an understanding among peers. 

There are people who don’t agree with having such dialogue or with any type of sexuality that isn’t heterosexual but it doesn’t stop it from being a reality. For too long people have been alienated or forced to be secretive in order to avoid persecution. Raising a flag says, loud and clear, you are a part of this community and you are accepted. You have the right to live your life with confidence and stability. It may not be a fully realized truth but it is a goal of people in the community and beyond. You have advocates. It is a powerful message.

The flag is unambiguous. Everyone knows what it means, around the world. We are so privileged to live in a society where we have the choice of raising a flag that has such a clear message. It is a shame and a wasted opportunity not to. 

The pride flag has more meaning than a Crime Stoppers flag or a Diabetes flag. No one is pro Diabetes. This is a different conversation and Clearview has spoken.

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