Camrose raises Pride Flag for first time
Camrose Mayor Norm Mayer raises the Pride Flag at the Bill Fowler Centre on Monday morning to kick off Camrose Pride Week. Josh Aldrich/Camrose Canadian
A simple gesture of raising a flag means the world to a segment of Camrose's community.
On Monday morning, a rainbow LGBTQ pride flag was raised by Mayor Norm Mayor at the Bill Fowler Centre, marking the first time the flag was flown at a City facility. The raising of the flag was approved at the March 20 city council meeting and officially kicks of Camrose Pride Week.
"It says that Camrose is a safe place for everyone right now, that's really the big statement," said Camrose Pride co-chairperson Gus Belcourt, who added he was elated watching the flag go up the pole.
The flag was designed in 1978 and rose to prominence following the assassination of San Francisco of politician Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in the U.S. It has since become a symbol for the LGBTQ community as they seek equality and acceptance.
While they are common during pride events in communities throughout North America and are often displayed by members of the LGBTQ community and allies, the flag remains a controversial symbol. The Town of Taber, on Jan. 22, voted down a request by their local LGBTQ community to fly the flag on a town flag pole. They were permitted to fly the flag on the pole last summer during their Pride festivities but it was vandalized twice in the short time it was up. The pole has now been decommisioned as a community flag pole.
"We really want to thank Norm Mayer and the city councilors for bringing Camrose into the constitutional standards of Camrose," said Belcourt.
This is the third year Pride Week has been celebrated in Camrose. Mayer had the honour of raising the flag.
"We felt we should recognize their organization," said Mayer. "People have feelings both ways, it depends on the individuals themselves, and that's fair, but they have their beliefs and we respect that."
Pride Week featured several discussions throughout the City and wraps up o Friday at the Bailey Theatre with their annual So You Think You Can Drag? Event at 8 p.m.