It is 50 years since the first rainbow flag flew in the name of gay pride. I am thrilled to see the raising of the pride flag at Duncan City Hall in commemoration of this important date, and in celebration of the incredible contributions lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit people make to our community. It has been a long journey, and still acceptance of diversity is a work in progress.
Recent examples of this progress that we can celebrate include:
- the powerful work of the Cowichan Valley School District 79, who, in 2014, implemented explicit protections for students who experience discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression;
- for the government’s ongoing support for the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) program, which was the result of decades of advocacy from the LGBTQ2+ community; and
- for the motion the BC legislative assembly debated today — and will unanimously support — to reaffirm the province’s stance against conversion therapy.
The work of addressing stigma, bias, and discrimination against people who are marginalized because of their sexual orientation or gender identity is ongoing. We must continue to be vigilant against those who promote hatred, or try to turn back the clock on the progress we have made in society.
Every person deserves to be a part of our community without fear of discrimination, harassment, or violence. It is the responsibility of leaders in our community to ensure that we to provide a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our community, including those who identify as or are perceived to be LGBTQ2+.
I am committed to supporting the LGBTQ2+ community, and I celebrate everyone who has worked tirelessly over the last 50 years to bring us to where we are today.