Dozens of onlookers, supporters, and guest speakers gathered online and in person on Saturday August 21 to witness the raising of the Pride Flag. The event, sponsored by Dr. Richard Thain and the Kin Club of Russell, took place in front of Russell city hall and was organized to celebrate the great strides the country has made in LGBTQIA+ rights, and to recognize how far we still need to go before true equality is realized.
“We are here today to remember historical wrongs and tragedies for Canadians who self-identify as LGBTQ+ but more importantly to celebrate the continued progress of human rights and progressive communities,” said Dr. Richard Thain, “The rights that we wish to see around the world, we must first establish and celebrate here at home.”
The version of the flag that was chosen symbolizes the journey still ahead for all communities, as explained by Srishti Hukku, a doctoral candidate in Population Health at the University of Ottawa and Medical Anthropology at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.
“The original multi-coloured Rainbow Flag was designed by artist Gilbert Baker in 1978 in San Francisco,” Hukku said, “The version that you see here today is Daniel Quasar’s Progress Pride Flag designed 40 years later in 2018. Quasar added the black and brown stripes to represent marginalised 2LGBTQ+ communities of colour, along with the colours pink, light blue and white, which are used on the Transgender Pride Flag. The additional elements form an arrow shape that points to the right, to represent « forward movement » and are along the left edge of the flag to state that « progress still needs to be made. »
Also present was MP for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell Francis Drouin, Russell Township Mayor Pierre Leroux, and Kin Club of Russell president Pat Hunter.