May 17th marks a day when 120 countries come together in unity to support gender equality, sexuality and gender orientation. A day whereby the LBGTQ community and those who support and love them show their true colors and rally for the day when sexuality, gender expression is not a thing but just is. May 17 is IDAHOT: International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
In recognition of today, the Bay St. George Coalition to End Violence partnered with the Western Pride Committee to hold a proclamation signing and flag raising event, inviting the community. Twenty-six individuals gathered at the Stephenville Town Hall in celebration as Mayor Tom O’Brien, with a small child sitting on his knee, listened as Chantel Drake, Chair of Western Pride Committee, read the official Proclamation. As he signed to cheers and applause, he declared May 17th International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. To which he added, “While May 17th is the designated day, every day should be a day where we are all equal!”
High and proud, the Pride and Transphobia flags can be seen flying outside the Stephenville Town Office. While inside, during every council meeting, a smaller replica can be seen sitting just to the front of the Mayor himself.
Following the official ceremony, the diverse group of people, devoted to educating and rallying for change, gathered for refreshments and conversations. As one youth, hair colored with pride, sat proudly in the Mayor’s seat and assisted with the flag raising, one can only reflect that this is as it should be, a world where young people do not fear to be themselves, to be free to love and live as they choose. A world where one is not subjected to discrimination or punishment for being happy.
As Margaret Meade said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Here’s to changing the world, one color at a time.
Each of us have a duty to ourselves and our world. As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated during a statement released for IDAHOT, “Today, I ask Canadians and people around the world to fight hatred, honour love, and defend human rights for everyone. Together, we can build a world where all of us are free to be who we are and love who we love.”
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