A Pride flag is flying high outside Victoria’s city hall.
City officials, Victoria Pride Society (VPS) staff and community members gathered Tuesday for the flag-raising, which came just days before the official launch of Pride week in B.C.’s capital.
It’s an event that highlights “the incredible resilience of our community,” according to VPS vice president Ace Mann, who spoke in front of the crowd.
“Sometimes it’s hard, but I do have optimism,” Mann told CHEK News. “We have always been here, and we’ve always been suppressed. There are pockets in places where we aren’t.”
They say the Progress Pride flag, which features the iconic rainbow plus black and brown strips for marginalized LGBTQ+ people of colour and baby blue, pink and white for transgender people, symbolizes community.
“We would not be here without people of colour and trans people leading the way. So it’s really important this flag for us,” said Mann. “And it’s also a symbol of all the work that we still have to do moving forward.”
Victoria’s Mayor Marianne Alto also attended the event, saying: “There’s still so much for us to do to make our communities truly welcoming, truly equal and truly appreciative of one another.”
A man made headlines this month after a mother said he interrupted a track meet to wrongly suggest her nine-year-old daughter was transgender. About a week prior, the Human Rights Campaign declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the U.S.
Yet Mann isn’t letting hate get to them.
“We have incredible people from all different walks of life, from every corner of the globe, who deserve equity. I’m here trying to amplify the voices of the people who need it most and the people who are the most equity deserving,” they said.
“I’m excited to see the world eventually come around and make the world more equitable for everyone.”
Resiliency is a word Mann knows well.
“Regardless of where the suppression happens, we are resilient, and we continue to find community and find love and find family. That’s not going to stop because there are echoes of history repeating itself,” they added. “It’s an incredible community, and I would put money on us any day of the week.”
The Victoria Pride Festival kicks off Thursday and culminates on July 9 with the popular Victoria Pride Parade and Pride Festival in the Park.
The upcoming parade, scheduled for July 9 at 11 a.m., starts at Douglas and Fisgard streets and runs through the city’s downtown, and will be broadcast live on CHEK, including on Facebook, YouTube and CHEK+, with hosts Tess van Straaten and Gouda Gabour.
(Photos: Victoria Pride Society)
Editor’s note: The original version of the story used incorrect pronouns for Ace Mann. The story has been updated with the correct pronouns. CHEK News regrets the error.