To Municipal Governments across Canada,
As Pride season (May-Sept) approaches, Egale Canada urges all municipalities to fly the Pride flag at municipal buildings. The Pride flag is a symbol of solidarity and support for 2SLGBTQI communities, and its presence sends a powerful message of inclusion and acceptance.
Despite making significant progress towards 2SLGBTQI rights in recent years, there is still much work to be done. Anti-trans and anti-2SLGBTQI hate and discrimination are at an all-time high across Canada. In our recent open letter, Egale called on all levels of government to take action to combat the rise in anti-2SLGBTQI hate.
Between 2019 and 2021, there was a 64% rise in police-reported hate crime against the 2SLGBTQI community in Canada — the majority (77%) targeted the gay and lesbian community, and 13% of hate crimes were directed at other sexual orientations. Egale’s Still in Every Class in Every School report found that 64% of students continue to hear homophobic or transphobic comments daily or weekly at school. In every corner of this country, we’re seeing a growing trend in anti-2SLGBTQI hate. By flying the Pride flag, municipal governments can show their commitment to equity, inclusion and justice for all members of their community.
Flying the Pride flag is so much more than a symbolic gesture; it can also promote a more inclusive, diverse, and vibrant community. 2SLGBTQI individuals are more likely to feel safe and welcome in areas where the Pride flag is displayed. This can lead to increased participation in community events, improved mental health outcomes, and greater social cohesion.
At its core, the Pride flag represents a simple yet powerful message: that all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. This is not a political issue, but a matter of basic human rights.
We urge you to fly the Pride flag at your municipal buildings this Pride season and beyond. By doing so, you can show your commitment to creating a more inclusive and welcoming community for all residents.
For municipalities that have bylaws in place that prevent the flying of the Pride flag, Egale calls upon you to reverse these bylaws and find additional ways to display rainbow or safe space visuals in your municipality – such as benches, crosswalks, banners, digital signs and more.
We need every municipality in Canada, including small towns and rural communities, to show that they stand with and value 2SLGBTQI people in their communities so we can fight back against this rise of anti-2SLGBTQI hate in this country and around the world.