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Local municipalities declare June as Pride Month

Photo courtesy of Bay of Quinte Pride Facebook page

By Charlotte Oduol  [1]

BELLEVILLE — A number of local municipalities have this week proclaimed June as Pride Month and that’s making many local LGBTQ+ community members happy.

“It makes me feel wonderful,” said  Stacey Love-Jolicoeur, coordinator of the Transforum group [2] in Belleville and chief executive director of SAGA-LGBTQ.ORG.

“The pride flag is the symbol of security for the LGBT population and when we see Pride flying we see acceptance but not only that, we see diversity.” 

Quinte West and Brighton [3] councils passed the motion Monday night with Trent Hills [4] passing it on Tuesday.

Quinte West council not only declared June Pride month but also allowed the flying of the Pride flag at City Hall during the month of June. [5]

Jolicoeur said that every colour of this rainbow flag has tremendous meaning.

“Red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for serenity, and the purple of the magenta is for our spirit,” she said.

“So when I see the flag, I see diversity because every one of those meanings of each colour brings us all together in everything we are. Our body, our mind, our spirit and our soul,” said Jolicoeur.

Jolicoeur says she is happy to see that local governments are making huge advances in terms of access to care and human rights for LGBT people, but there’s a lot more that can be done.

“We are far from perfect and have a long way to go,” said Jolicoeur. 

“One of the problems that we experience is that it’s not a civil matter so we can’t call the police. We have to file human rights complaints and these are lengthy long processes.”

Quinte West councillor Allan DeWitt asked that they discuss painting pride colours on crosswalks in downtown Trenton and Frankford, as one of the other initiatives suggested on the agenda by Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing Board Executive Director Dug Stevenson. [6]

Mayor Jim Harrison said that the matter will be discussed at the next council meeting in June.

Stevenson says he thinks it’s a positive next step that the council is interested in discussing future initiatives.

“Everybody is feeling good about this you know, I think everybody wants to feel accepted and the fact that the municipality is making a point of recognizing June as Pride month… I think is a great step in that direction.”

“It’s also a good one for us to build from when it comes to implementing our LGBT+ tourism strategy,” said Stevenson. 

“We are currently working on an LGBT+  tourism strategy and this is something that came out of funding initiatives through the federal government in collaboration with the Canadian LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce [7].” 

“Part of the strategy is we had some requests made by local stakeholders to make a proclamation to our partner municipalities to make June Pride month and undertake conversations around LGBT+ positive tourism initiatives,” he said.

“At the end of the day we want everybody who is visiting this region as a tourist to feel welcome and so you know starting at the community level and working with our partner municipalities in order to undertake initiatives like proclaiming June Pride month, I think are really important ways to show not just our local community but also that tourism community that we’re saying it doesn’t matter who you are, we are ready to welcome you with open arms.”

Stevenson says they are working and collaborating with the Bay of Quinte Pride on the LGBT+ strategy.

Bay of Quinte Pride [8] is a terrific group that has done a lot of work locally to raise awareness about the LGBT+ community and they have been very active in reaching out to our local municipalities for support like this,” said Stevenson