Last week’s backlash to a piece of rainbow coloured silk should serve as an eye opener to anyone who thinks that we, as a society, have moved beyond the need to give special recognition to members of the LGBTQ community.
What was intended as small, informative brief about a flag raising by Encompass Support Services Society’s LGBTQ2S+ youth group, garnered not only a litany of negative comments online, but a scathing letter to the City as well, from a well-known anti-SOGI activist.
There are certain minds that will never be changed — at least not by anything outside their own personal experience.
However it’s worth noting that many of the commenters who claim not to have any issue with other people’s sexual orientation questioned why such an event is necessary in this day and age.
That query is often accompanied by the argument that no other special interest group is given the opportunity to fly their own flag.
The Arthritis Society flag is raised every September in front of Langley City Hall.
Juvenile diabetes, and multiple sclerosis have also been given centre stage to raise awareness about the impact the diseases have on the lives of those they affect.
The difference is we don’t see sickness or disability as some kind of moral failing or an affront to our own values.
We don’t mind having that information “thrown in our faces,” so to speak, once a year.
However, without fail, every rainbow crosswalk that has been painted in the Lower Mainland or on Vancouver Island in the past couple of years has been vandalized within days — or even hours — of installation by drivers laying black rubber across the colourful stripes.
The message in each incident is fairly clear — and it’s not one of acceptance.
What has been heartening, however, in the case of the Langley City flag, is the flood of response to the earlier negativity.
The flag raising drew a crowd 50 per cent larger than the previous year, and the tone of the comments posted on our website below a follow-up story to the brief were overwhelmingly supportive.
This gives us hope that may we may, in fact, see a day where there is no longer a reason to hold Pride parades, paint multi-coloured crosswalks or fly rainbow flags.
That will be a good day.
But today is not that day.