PRESS RELEASE: Rainbow Pride Flag is set to fly over Parliament Hill

The Rainbow Pride Flag is set to fly over Parliament Hill, for the first time in history, to celebrate June as Pride Month. In 2009, President Obama declared June as LGBT History month and several years later, Canada is following suite.  In Canada we acknowledge the diversity of our gender & sexual minority communities, which include: Two-Spirit, Asexual, Pansexual, Queer, Questioning, and Gender Non-Conforming/Non-Binary persons.

The Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity is proud to join the Rt. Hon Justin Trudeau, Hon. Dr Hedy Fry, Randy Boissonnault and all Ottawa Parliamentarians in raising the Rainbow Pride Flag on Parliament Hill tomorrow, June 1, 2016 at 3pm (just after question period). You are invited too!

Around the world, people will be celebrating Pride Month, marking the anniversary of the American Stonewall Riots (June 1969), the beginning of the decriminalization of homosexuality within Canada (May 14, 1969), the We Demand Protest (August 28th, 1971), and countless other actions of resistance and solidarity that propelled Queer and Trans communities towards social and legal change.

This historic moment marks the first time a flag other than the Canadian Flag and the Queen’s standard have flown from the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill.

“It is without reservation that I express our Pride for this historic act. This symbolic gesture truly demonstrates that Canadians are ready to confront the realities of oppression that gender & sexual minorities face today, and that we are ready to learn & take action,” said Jeremy Dias, Director of the Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity.

For many gender & sexual minorities this symbolic act was inconceivable; many still remember police raids, being expelled from the army, fighting to have their families recognized, demanding equal access health care, and being bullied at school or at work—and frankly many of theses challenges continue today.”

Staff and volunteers from the Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity will be at the ceremony, wearing pride flags, to acknowledge the longstanding history of police and state oppression that Queer and Trans Canadians experience(d). These stories need to be further elevated within the public consciousness in order to continue meaningful dialogues moving towards accountability.

Kole Peplinskie, the Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity’s Two-Spirit Coordinators adds, “While this is a beautiful symbolic act, we must remember that symbols only have value when they are paired with action. Two-Spirit, Queer and Transgender Indigenous people have been present in Canada since time immemorial, and their legacy needs to be incorporated into the diversity of our Canadian narrative.”

The Centre works every day to address heterosexism & cissexism (homophobia & transphobia) through its free workshops, conferences and programs that work with over 250,000 people per year. The Centre also presents the International Day of Pink, that last year engaged over 10.3 million Canadians. We fundamentally believe that creating social change is a year-long event and encourage Canadians to continue conversations throughout the year about how they can advocate for and support Queer and Trans Canadians.