Members of the Quesnel Pride Society (QPS), the Quesnel community and mayor Bob Simpson were on hand to witness the raising of the Pride flag on the Quesnel community flag pole in LeBourdais Park on Monday, June 22.
At the request of the society the Pride flag will fly in LeBourdais Park for the remainder of June, which is Pride month, in order to do so a special exception was made by the City of Quesnel.
“The City made and exception for us, there is a bylaw which states that you can only have a flag up for one week but the City was really gracious about letting us leave it up for a little longer,” said QPS president Kassondra Schwab.
Mayor Simpson expressed his regrets regarding the need to cancel this years Pride Parade due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic and thanks the society for its ongoing work in the Quesnel community.
“I want to thank the Pride Society for working with us this year around the COVID-19 situation and the inability to host a parade,” said mayor Simpson. “As a council, we want to make sure that Quesnel is a community that is fully inclusive, that recognizes every persons right to be who they are and we know that the flag is only a symbol of that and that we have to make sure that we are taking actions in conjunction with that symbolism, so thank you for making sure that our community is educated.”
Schwab explains that having the Pride flag flown on the community flag poll promotes inclusivity as well as the ongoing the ongoing work being done towards complete acceptance and equality.
“I think visibility is really important just as the mayor said, having that symbolism and knowing that we are an inclusive community and that we are trying to do right by those that blazed the trail before us,” said Schwab.
QPS vice president Ashley Rodgers added that the flag serves not only as a symbol of community but also of hope.
“I think it really brings us all together and connects us, and people can just walk through the park see that flag and know that we are here for them,” said Rodgers.
Schwab was also happy to note that the new Quesnel RCMP Staff Sgt. Darren Dodge had reached out to the society in hopes of working together to form a stronger bond between the RCMP and the LGBTQ2S+ community.
“Staff Sergeant Darren Dodge reached out to us and he wants to sit down and chat about how the RCMP can be more involved and make sure that they are being inclusive and non-judgmental so we will be chatting with him in the near future,” said Schwab.
In lieu of the Pride Parade this year the QPS is hosting a contest, asking members of the community to show them how they are celebrating Pride this year by submitting photos, video, art or music to the society. Entries will be shared on the society’s social media throughout the month and a winner will be picked after the June 30 deadline.
Individuals wishing to learn more about the Quesnel Pride Society can visit their Facebook page, submissions for the What Does Pride Meant To You contest can be emailed to email@example.com.