Shown in Photo: Cheryl Dowden, Colleen Driscoll, Megan McTague, Stephanie Myers, Gerry Cartwright, Shirley Lambrecht. Photo credit: Anthony Sanna.
Kootenay Pride celebrated a small victory last night at a city council meeting in Nelson, BC.
Kootenay Pride is one of the oldest Pride groups in the province, this year will their 22nd year honouring the LGBTQ2S community, but the Pride flag has never flown over the city during the Pride events. The only time the Pride flag has flown in front of city hall was after the Orlando massacre in June of 2016.
A few months back Kootenay Pride sent a letter to city hall asking that they consider flying the Pride and Trans flag during this year’s events from Monday, Aug 27th to Monday, Sept 3rd. Last night at the council meeting city staff came forward with a new flag policy that stated that ‘The City of Nelson will not consider flag raising or lowering for any community group at City Hall and will not engage in any promotions on behalf of any community group.’
Kootenay Pride attended the council meeting and were prepared to speak on the issue citing numerous examples of cities who raise the flags either with or without policies. There was some explanation from staff about how some other cities raise the flag with the use of a community pole. Kootenay Pride feels that a community pole is another form of marginalization and a $4000 expense that the city doesn’t need. Both the Councilors and Mayor showed that they support the raising of the flag with Councilor Michael Dailly putting a motion forward to raise the Pride flag this year and the policy referred back to staff for amendments.
Kootenay Pride feels that it is high time and the city needs to make a statement and show that they not only support the LGBTQ2S community but that they understand that visibility and inclusion matter. Next year Kootenay Pride will be back in front of a possible new council with a municipal election happening this fall to ask for both flags to be proudly displayed in front of city hall.