Show Your Support By Learning About LGBTQ+ Issues and History

Pride started as a protest, and the Township of Langley’s removal of an LGBTQ+ flag shows that the fight is not over

The fight for LGBTQ+ rights in Canada is not over. (Flickr/ Dennis Sylvester Hurd)

Half a century ago, Canada decriminalized homosexuality. In the 70s, Pride Week became a national LGBTQ+ event and Vancouver was one of two Canadian cities to first host an official parade.

It was only in 2005 that same-sex couples gained the legal right to marry in Canada, making our country the fourth in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. Just earlier this year the World Health Organization voted to remove “transgender” from its list of mental disorders.

I live in the Township of Langley, and all month a woman in Aldergrove has had to deal with her pride flag being taken down. Twice the flag was stolen, but once it was taken from her private property by a township worker after they assumed the flag had been placed on public property. The worker returned it to her with an apology after she called to complain.

In a CTV News Vancouver interview, the woman said, “I put it up because to me it represents Canada. It represents all people being equal and everything good about Canada and I am proud of the country we live in.”

Her neighbour was told by the Township that the flag’s removal came in response to a phone call complaint. He said in an interview, “It was wrong for the [township] to act on such a phone call … that is total discrimination against the gay community.”

Just two weeks ago, the Vancouver Sun reported that anti-Trans protestors, from the group Parents United Canada, were upset with the SOGI 123 program being implemented into schools and were met by counter protestors at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

SOGI 123 is a government program for primary and secondary schools designed to help teachers support LGBTQ+ students. The idea is to make LGBTQ+ students feel included and prevent bullying which targets a child’s sexuality or gender identity.

These Parents United Canada members are spreading intolerance, which could encourage bullying towards young LGBTQ+ students who are already struggling with self-acceptance and acceptance within their communities.

I believe that these parents are concerned that introducing this government-approved program to schools and teaching young students about the LGBTQ+ community will cause their children to question their identity and sexuality. I hope that’s the only place the parents are coming from.

But this is only going to do more harm than good, and I think that it’s much safer for children to be exposed to the LGBTQ+ community than not.

It’s safer for them to know that there are resources out there for them if they start questioning, or if they need to talk to someone. It’s reassuring for them to know they are not alone. Too many kids have grown up alienated by their friends and family. Too many kids have suffered simply for being who they are. We should educate them, and teach them that they do not have to go through it on their own.

You don’t have to attend a protest or even go to the parade to show support, but you can read up on the history of LGBTQ+ rights and educate yourself on why people who identify as LGBTQ+ need to celebrate their identities. Support a friend that comes out to you. Don’t make jokes that target gay or trans people, and stop using derogatory terms towards members of the LGBTQ+ community.

My mother bought a pride flag the day she read about the one that was taken down in our neighbourhood, and it proudly hangs outside our front window for all to see.

Pride started as a protest and our fight is not over.

 

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