Pride flag is flying over Bay Roberts

Mayor hopes for a day when such events no longer needed

Terry Roberts
Published on August 28, 2014

Bay Roberts Mayor Philip Wood (second from right) and Stacy Harris, a regional co-ordinator with Communities Against Violence (third from right), lead a Pride flag-raising ceremony outside the town hall today.

Photo by Terry Roberts/The Compass

Bay Roberts Mayor Philip Wood enthusiastically took part in a flag-raising ceremony outside the town hall today (Aug. 28) that promoted diversity, acceptance and tolerance.

But he hopes one day that such events are no longer necessary.

“I feel it is important that we give a sign that we support and recognize the importance of diversity, and at the same time promote respect, understanding and tolerance for all.

“If something as simple as having a reception such as this or raising a flag can help others gain additional pride and at the same time promote diversity, then today, despite the (small) numbers, it has been a complete success,” he said to a modest gathering of about a dozen people.

Wood made his comments during the second annual Pride flag raising ceremony in the town. The event is a celebration of those in the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) community, and is intended to raise awareness for those who “wish and deserve to live as any other community member — equal,” said Stacy Harris, regional co-ordinator for a group called Communities Against Violence.

Those at the event acknowledged that great strides have been made in recent years on this front, but also recognize that more needs to be done to ensure equality and acceptance for members of the LGBT community who “study, work, live, grow and work in our local community.”

Harris said it’s important to promote everyone’s right to “live and love freely.”

This year’s event in Bay Roberts was noticeably smaller than in 2013, which didn’t go unnoticed by those in attendance.

However, the symbolism of raising the six-coloured flag was just as powerful, with the raising followed by enthusiastic applause.

The first Pride flag, meanwhile, was flown in San Francisco in 1978, and was created by a man named Gilbert Baker as a symbol of pride for the gay community.

Each colour of the flag has a meaning: red, life; orange, healing; yellow, sunlight; green, nature; blue, harmony; and purple, spirit.

Baker is famous for saying the flag is more than just a cloth, but is a statement of action.

Harris agreed, adding; “I’d say we take some action and raise our flag.”