The Importance of Flying the Pride Flag
By Amber Siddiqui, Equity team leader
Flying the pride flag symbolizes support for the 2SLGBTQ+ community and lets students know that they are welcome, loved, and accepted at school. Halton schools should be a safe space for everyone, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or anything else - flying the flag helps to establish this safe space and it also sets a precedent for other school boards, showing them that demonstrating an unwavering support for their students is crucial to youth wellbeing. As a student, it is devastating to see that there are many boards who have chosen not to fly the flag and my peers and I are constantly looking for opportunities to convince these boards to reconsider their decision.
As such, working with the Halton Pride Collective and supporting their initiatives throughout the month of June was an amazing experience. I enjoyed being able to connect with other volunteers across Halton and work with them to plan and promote several events during Pride month. I appreciated the opportunity to be able to work as an ally for the 2SLGBTQ+ community and use my voice to explain to the Halton Catholic District School Board the significance and necessity of flying the flag.
As youth, we have a responsibility to let our peers know that we love and accept them regardless of their sexuality and gender. Regardless of what the Halton Catholic District School Board has to say, we students will stand as a united front. It is important to make the spaces we occupy safer by shutting down harmful comments and mentalities and promoting equity. A great way to contribute to accepting environments is to stand up for vulnerable people and groups through making boundary-setting statements that can help combat the culture of silence. As youth, we can listen to our 2SLGBTQ+ friends and classmates when they need to talk. We can keep an eye out for folks in our classrooms, hallways, and lunch rooms who are alone or isolated and ensure they are included. Most importantly, we can treat everyone with care and respect and be an example for the kind of behaviour we want to see emulated by other people and in the world.