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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Pride organizations in Atlantic Canada want to show the 2SLGBTQ+ community some love during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Pride at Home initiative is set to get underway April 17-19. The idea is for locals to show their pride through displays of Pride flags of any colour on their property as a show of solidarity to members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Gorvin Greening, co-chair of St. John’s Pride, says the idea is to remind the 2SLGBTQ+ community that they’re seen and supported throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Often, mental-health issues tend to be higher among 2SLGBTQ+ people. Right now, with social media, we’re seeing everything is COVID-19 — absolutely everything — to the point where I’m ignoring my cellphone most of the day,” said Greening.
“We can take an opportunity to give 2SLGBTQ+ community members a chance for a distraction. It’s something for them to get creative with.”
Greening says he encourages 2SLGBTQ+ community members and allies alike to post pictures on social media of their shows of support using the hashtag #PrideAtHome.
“Let's flood the newsfeeds with some positivity and let everyone know that we’re still around,” he said.
The idea was hatched by Halifax Pride and was quickly adopted by St. John’s, Fogo Island, and Grand Falls-Windsor Pride organizations.
Adam Reid, executive director of Halifax Pride, says marginalized communities tend to suffer most during trying times.
“The pandemic is hitting members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community pretty hard, especially those that already face marginalization. Since this started, we’ve been trying to identify ways that we can actively support folks right now,” he said.
“It just seemed like, with the number of people who are dealing with social isolation, loneliness, possibly some really harmful living environments, we wanted to let them know that they weren’t being forgotten.”
Reid says the initiative has additional meaning in Nova Scotia, marking the memory of the tragic loss of an advocate in 2012.
“Halifax was significantly marked in 2012 when a really beloved member of our community and activist Raymond Taavel was murdered. His death really marked our community and it also led to a lot of folks hanging flags, rainbow flags, out on display as a sign of mourning and remembrance,” said Reid.
“Raymond did a lot for this community. He always worked hard for the community. No matter what, his contributions weren’t going to be forgotten.”
There are already rainbows in the windows of many homes throughout Atlantic Canada, as the symbol is being used to say thank you to essential workers who keep society going through these difficult times.
Reid says the rainbow is for everyone to enjoy.
“If a rainbow is already hanging, that’s really wonderful,” he said.
“I’m hoping that when people go for their strolls around the neighbourhood while keeping socially distant, with any luck if they’re a member of the queer community or a member of the straight community they’ll notice something is up. They’ll see the flags and if they’re a member of the queer community they’ll know exactly what is happening. It would just be nice to brighten people's day.”