PORT HAWKESBURY: Although some public health restrictions remain, Pride Month events have taken place and are planned throughout the month.
“It’s a time to show respect, learn more about, and also learn how to be allies for persons from our LGBTQ+ Two Spirit community,” Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton old the June 1 regular monthly meeting of Port Hawkesbury Town Council. “This year, despite COVID-19, we are still participating in some safe and respectful ways that we are celebrating pride in individual and collective ways.”
On June 2, the Pride Flag was partially raised in front of the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre by the mayor and Pride Month organizer Taylor Linloff.
“It’s been an absolute honour to raise the Pride Flag here,” Linloff said. “I recently came into my identity as a Non-Binary, Queer person and it was a very long journey of self-discovery. To be able to raise the Pride Flag means a lot for my journey, my family, and any other non-binary, transgender, LGBTQ individuals across Port Hawkesbury and the Strait area. Port Hawkesbury has always been my home; I’ve been raised here my entire life. And I really hope that by seeing the flag raised by a Queer individual means the world and shows that other LGBTQ and Two Spirit individuals, throughout Port Hawkesbury and the Strait area, are welcomed and loved individuals like myself.”
Linloff’s mother Adelle called herself a “proud mom.” She said Taylor’s father Conrad passed away a year ago and he brought his daughter to her first Pride Parade. She said it was unfortunate he did not live long enough to see last year’s inaugural Pride Parade in the town.
“Taylor has new pronouns, they and them, but Taylor will always be my child, and I’m proud of the child that (they) have become,” she said. “I want all parents out there to realize that the child that they have or had, may not be the child that they’ve come to know, but you know what, embrace that child because that child is wonderful, and that child has come into themselves, and that child is beautiful. Be proud of that child because that child is on their own path of discovery, and that child is opening up to what they always were, and will be. And you are going to love what you are going to see. And don’t be afraid, embrace it.”
Town Councillor Jason Aucoin was also at the Pride Flag ceremony.
“I’m honoured to be here. I think Pride Month is a very important month and we should be celebrating and drawing attention,” he stated. “Council was in support of this, which is good to see. Hopefully we’ll get some more activities going and next year we can do it all together with a larger crowd.”
Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton said the town has been working closely with Linloff this year, as they did last year when the town hosted its first ever Pride March and celebrations.
“This year, with the lockdown and with COVID restrictions, things may not have developed like we would have liked,” she noted.
On May 29 Linloff led a “Show Your Pride” event on Zoom, which was a craft-making activity to show participants how to make their own Rainbow Flags. Linloff also offered information on the history and meaning of the colours on the flag, as well as the significance of the month.
Residents are invited to show their pride all month long, the mayor said, noting that she and other town officials are flying Pride Flags, and residents are decorating rainbow rocks to place along the waterfront and along the town’s trail system. The mayor has placed rainbow-painted rocks at the town’s fountain to create a “Fountain of Love.”
The town’s flag flown at half-mast out of respect to the recent finding of the remains of 215 Indigenous children near a former Residential School in Kamloops, British Columbia, the mayor said. She said they proceeded after discussions with resident Bryson Sili’pay.
“We were certainly open to postponing the raising of the Pride Flag until the observance of the nine days could be complete,” the mayor added.