WATCH: With Pride Week just a few days away, the staff at Victoria city hall kicked off celebrations by raising not only the pride flag but four others as well. Luisa Alvarez was there.
Pride colours already beautify the crosswalks on Pandora Avenue but now as Pride Week is about to begin, the flagpole in front of city hall bears even more colours.
“This year we are raising the pride flag, the transgender flag, the two-spirit flag, the genderqueer flag and the non-binary flag,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.
Each flag represents a different and emerging part of the queer community in Greater Victoria and this year the two-spirit, genderqueer and non-binary flags are flying for the first time.
“This is an opportunity now with new flags and new ideas for some of us to take a couple of moments to learn some new terms and some new language and going forward be open to change because it doesn’t have to separate it us change can actually bring us together,” said LGBTQ advocate Hope Warren.
Victoria Coun. Marianne Alto says raising the flags in front of city hall is a symbolic way to promote the message Victoria is hoping to send.
“I think its important for the city to take the time to really use that symbol to indicate we are open and welcoming to everyone in our city,” said Alto.
Especially for those feeling under-represented.
“Two-spirited people, it’s a role that’s probably been around for thousands and thousands of years and for it to be publicly displayed and for two-spirited people to say hey that’s First Nations up there, I think its progress,” said Victoria Pride Director Laurie McDonald.
Those in the LGBTQ-plus community say the addition of the different flags is a step in the right direction in making sure those that are part of the community feel welcome in their own city. But there is still plenty of work to be done.
“We would need an entire two or three poles here just so we can get all the flags up here so no matter who walks by they can say, yes that is me. My city sees me,” said Warren.
Alto said they will try and add more flags next year.
“I expect that we will have more next year as we do more work with the community.”
The flags will remain up until July 6 and then will be flown again on Victoria’s Pride Parade float on July 8.