To celebrate Pride Month, the City of Langford has installed a number of banners along Goldstream Avenue, but in the first 24 hours they were displayed, five were vandalized, according to a Langford councillor.
While Langford has put up banners in previous years to celebrate Pride, this year the city put up additional banners. Previously there have been a few banners around the fountain on Goldstream Avenue.
This year, the city has additional banners along Goldstream Avenue from Jacklin Road to Veterans Memorial Parkway, and is displaying the Progress Pride flag outside of City Hall, Fire Hall #1 and at Starlight Stadium.
At 5:30 p.m. on June 1, the first day of Pride Month, Coun. Kimberley Guiry shared that five of the banners had been vandalized, and tells CHEK News it was with red spray paint.
“I was incredibly saddened but honestly more furious to learn that 5 of our Langford banners were vandalized in the first 24 hours of being displayed,” Guiry’s tweet said. “Hate has no place in our city.”
I was incredibly saddened but honestly more furious to learn that 5 of our Langford banners were vandalized in the first 24 hours of being displayed. Hate has no place in our city. pic.twitter.com/4Sp0lOQQhA
— Kimberley Guiry (she/her) 🏳️🌈 (@kimberleyguiry) June 2, 2023
Guiry tells CHEK News the five banners were able to be quickly replaced by city staff.
“We had somebody reported that they had been vandalized so our staff replaced them very quickly,” Guiry said. “We really want our constituents, our residents to feel welcome in Langford, to feel at home here, no matter who they are. I have a very personal vested interest in Pride, so I was hoping for better.”
Guiry says this vandalism shows why it continues to be important to show support for the LGBTQ2S+ community.
“I think we are in a very unique time right now where there is some narrative that comes from south of the border that persists,” Guiry said. “It’s more of a reason we need to create safe places to celebrate diversity, to really hammer down that that is not what Langford is about, that is not what our community is about and we can do better.”
Fellow councillors Colby Harder and Keith Yacucha also shared their disappointment in the banners being vandalized.
“Well said Kim,” Harder said on Twitter. “Thank you for being a strong voice against this display of bigotry in Langford.”
“I can’t even,” said Yacucha. “This is completely disgusting. Hate has no place here!”
Earlier in the day, the same three councillors shared on Twitter their excitement for seeing an increased Pride celebration in the city.
“No matter the month, everyone deserves to feel safe & empowered to be their truest selves,” said Harder. “We have come a long way but I know there’s so much more to do & that these flags are just the start.”
No matter the month, everyone deserves to feel safe & empowered to be their truest selves.
What gives me hope is seeing the youth in our city lead the way, showing that we CAN be a city that stands up against hate, discrimination & violence towards the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
— Colby Harder (@colby_harder) June 1, 2023
“I’m thrilled to see increased visibility this year,” Guiry said. “In the past our family has admittedly felt disconnected in Langford. I feel like we are on a path towards more connections within the Westshore LGBTQIA2S+ community and fellow allies.”
Happy Pride Month Langford! I’m thrilled to see increased visibility this year. In the past our family has admittedly felt disconnected in Langford. I feel like we are on a path towards more connections within the Westshore LGBTQIA2S+ community and fellow allies. #prideliveshere pic.twitter.com/0Beh87HyeD
— Kimberley Guiry (she/her) 🏳️🌈 (@kimberleyguiry) June 1, 2023