The entire front cover of an edition of the Nanaimo News Bulletin last week was a Pride flag, and it’s not the only rainbow flag you’ll see this June, during Pride Month.
A lot of individuals, businesses and organizations will find different ways to fly the flag and its colours, to signify that they’re members of the LGBTQ community, or that they’re allies who support all sexual orientations and gender identities and the belief that love is love.
It’s relatively easy to scotch-tape a piece of rainbow newsprint to a window or go to a parade or say, ‘happy Pride.’ And those actions, though small, still help with acceptance and allyship, thereby helping to combat the prejudices that do still exist and working toward a truer, deeper equality for our LGBTQ friends, family members and neighbours.
But Pride Week is more than a series of parties and rainbow-coloured gestures. It can be an opportunity for us to think about those who have been persecuted for being who they are – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, two-spirit, whatever their identity – and those who stood up to that persecution to help drag Vancouver Island forward to be a place where people, more so than ever, can be their true selves.
We should celebrate their strength that has brought us to where we are now, Pride Week 2019, and honour their efforts by ensuring that each generation will show continued determination to advance gay and trans rights.
We can further eliminate homophobic slurs as we continue to reject all forms of bullying. We can look for ways to support school- and community-based resources and safe spaces for LGBTQ youths. We can pay attention when we’re told about barriers and injustices that still exist, and work together to fix problems.
We should listen to people when they tell us who they are. We should love and let love.