RAINBOW FLAGS PROUDLY FLY OVER MUSKOKA
All Muskoka Communities Show Support for Diversity
MUSKOKA, ONTARIO – July 20th , 2014 – For second year, all of the communities in Muskoka are raising the Rainbow Pride flag to recognize Muskoka Pride Festival which runs July 17 – 26.
The Townships of Muskoka Lakes, Georgian Bay, and Lake of Bays, and the towns of Huntsville, Bracebridge, and Gravenhurst will all be raising the flag again this year.
Starting the day off, Georgian Bay Township Mayor Larry Braid and Lake of Bays Mayor Bob Young proudly raised the Rainbow flag in Port Severn and Dwight respectively. Referring to Georgian Bay Township’s stragegic plan, Mayor Braid stated, “We are proud to have Muskoka Pride as a stakeholder in our community.” He also shared his optimism that the new Courtesy flagpole would work – to his pleasure the flag was raised flawlessly.
Muskoka Lakes Mayor Don Furniss commented on the role Muskoka Pride had in getting a flag holder installed. In 2014 Muskoka Pride spoke before Council and purchased the holder. Mayor Furniss recognized that this is the second year for a Rainbow Pride flag raising, “and we hope it’s an annual occurance.” He also mentioned that with the new holder the Township has marked other flag raisings as well.
Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith expressed his pleasure in raising the Rainbow Pride flag for the 5th consecutive year, to thunderous applause from over 50 people who attended the ceremony. Mayor Smith thanked the Pride organizers for their time and dedication. He remarked, “The crowd is growing every year, the awareness is growing. Everyone is making an incredibly positive impact in the community.”
The Rainbow Flag symbolizes the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community with the different colours representing the diverse groups.
For Heather Hay, Chairperson of Muskoka Pride, the flag raisings are a symbol of acceptance of the LGBT population of Muskoka. “It says to the people in Muskoka that our community is diverse and inclusive, an important message for residents and visitors.”
Hay stressed the need for the flag raising’s visibility within Muskoka. “It’s important for young people to see it and know that they’re welcome in their own community.”
“It is significant that all communities of Muskoka are once again recognizing the Muskoka Pride Festival this year,” says board member Shawn Forth, “because there are LGBTQ residents all over Muskoka, who want to feel supported by their town.”
Having grown up in Muskoka, he understands the feeling of isolation that comes with thinking you are alone. “Visibility is important for the LGBTQ community so that you don’t isolated. LGBTQ Pride is not just about tolerance and acceptance – it’s about celebrating the rich diversity in our community.”
The Muskoka Pride Festival continues with events all week throughout Muskoka. The week concludes on Sunday July 26th with the 7th annual Muskoka Pride Picnic at Annie Williams Park in Bracebridge.
For further information about all events, go to www.muskokapride.com or visit the Muskoka Pride Facebook Page www.facebook.com/muskokapride