Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Acknowledging and accepting LGBTQ seniors in Langley City

For the third year in a row, the rainbow flag was raised in front of Timms Community Centre/Langley City Hall. The flag is raised to coincide with Vancouver Pride celebrations.

Seniors of Langley representatives, Langley City council, and others holding the rainbow flag. Select image to enlarge.

Speeches by a representative from MP John Aldag office, Mayor Val van den Broek, and the Seniors of Langley. Select image to enlarge.

In the past, the flag has been raised at the request of the Langley Friends of Dorothy LGBTQ youth group. This year, the flag request came from the Seniors of Langley which is a group for LGBTQ seniors in our community.

I had the honour of attending the flag raising yesterday. It reminded me of the struggles that LGBTQ seniors face in our community, even today.

It might seem surprising to some, but people could be officially discriminated against based on their sexual orientation until the mid-1990. It has only been around 15 years since LGBTQ people have had similar rights as their straight neighbours and friends.

LGBTQ people growing up in the 20th century faced many barriers. As youth, being kicked out of their house was a real risk if their sexual orientation was found out. Some LGBTQ people were forced to undergo conversion therapy. LGBTQ people lost their jobs because of their sexual orientation. Governments actively decimation again LGBTQ people, including raiding known LGBTQ establishments and arresting LBGTQ people up until the 1980s because of their sexual orientation.

The rainbow flag with the Canadian flag, BC flag, and Langley City flag.

Raising a rainbow flag for one week may seem like a small thing, but it is a big deal for LGBTQ people who have faced a lifetime of discrimination solely based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Canadian society is at its best when we accept and acknowledge people who are different than us. By accepting, and even celebrating our differences, it counterintuitively allows us to better see our commonality. The commonality that we all want to feel a sense of belonging and safety, and to have a good quality of life. By raising the rainbow flag for one week at Timms Community Centre, we acknowledge that people who are LGBTQ are welcomed members of Langley City.

No comments: