The pride flag was first introduced in 1978 by a man named Gilbert Baker. He was approached by the San Francisco Pride committee to come up with a new symbol to represent their fight for equal rights. After much deliberation, he decided on a rainbow, for its representation of diversity and of acceptance. Since then, the rainbow flag has become an internationally recognizable symbol for the gay rights movement. It is associated with love, and tolerance and peace. All things that should be taught at high schools.
For the past two years Leo Hayes High School has raised the pride flag in front of the school in celebration of Pride Week. This is a week that the Gay Straight Alliance puts on, in which we celebrate diversity and promote acceptance of students of a gender of sexuality minority. Considering that according to a 2009 Canadian survey, 73 per cent of LGBTQ students reported feeling unsafe at school, this is a pretty important week.
However, this year, only a few days before the planned raising of the flag, we received an email from the premier, David Alward, stating that we are not allowed to raise the pride flag due to a law that says no non-official flags can be flown on public property.
This is petition asking the New Brunswick government to allow schools to raise the pride flag because the safety and acceptance of children should be placed at a higher importance than a law that was forgotten about for two years. Flying the pride flag shows students, and the public, that the school is a safe and accepting place for everyone.
As Gilbert Baker said, flags are “something that everyone owns and that’s why they work. The Rainbow Flag is like other flags in that sense, it belongs to the people.”