Coldstream and Vernon have officially raised their pride flags, to celebrate the second annual Pride Week.
The raisings, happening in the afternoon of Tuesday. Aug. 8, were attended by numerous local governmental dignitaries to mark the occasion.
“Many in the world are still not safe to let their true and whole spirits shine, but if you are here with us, then you agree with me that 2SLGBTQIA+ deserve to take up space as our fullest and truest spirited self, ” said Abbie Wilson, president of Vernon Pride, who spoke at both events. “We have always been here and we will always be here.”
“We came a long ways but to be honest we have a long ways to go,” said Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee. “When I see the anti-SOGI movements in school, people who target ethnic communities, including mine, to spread false and dangerous information that what your kids are learning is dangerous, is concerning, as an MLA, citizen and mother.”
SOGI refers to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, which is being taught and discussed in classrooms around the province.
In Coldstream, raising the Pride Flag, said Mayor Ruth Hoyte, goes to show all district residents have value.
“I looked at my own personal beliefs which doesn’t matter about who you love. It’s about the capacity to love that makes us who we are,” said Hoyte to a crowd of about 20 gathered at the Coldstream Cenotaph.
“I find it unfortunate that the 2SLGBTQIA+ group continues to receive so many negative thoughts and go up against numerous barriers in our community. They deserve happiness like everyone else, even those with dark hearts.”
Wilson took time to explain the flag to those in attendance. The yellow with the purple circle represents intersex siblings, the purple circle being unbroken, Wilson said, stands for wholeness.
The black and brown colours are for black, Indigenous and other people of colour in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community; the triangle shape, Wilson explained, suggests forward progress and “remembering how far we’ve come and how far we’ll go.”
White, pink and blue colours on the flag represent the trans and gender non-conforming community.
Red is for life; orange is for healing; yellow is for sunlight and new ideas for growth; green is for nature; blue is for peace, which is worked toward everyday; and violet is for spirit.
A Pride March will be held in Vernon Saturday, Aug. 12.