By Herald on June 7, 2021.
Tim Kalinowski – Lethbridge Herald
The Pride flag flew proudly over the University of Lethbridge on Monday as a visual acknowledgement of the importance of the LGBTQ+ members who find a home at the university, and within the Lethbridge community at large.
“I think it is important for our broader community to celebrate, but the university as a main pillar of our community can demonstrate leadership by celebrating and embracing Pride,” said U of L Board of Governors chair Kurt Schlachter, who helped raise the Pride Flag in the university’s main bus loop alongside Graduate Student Association president Gregory Robinson and Student Union representative Cayley Fleischman. “And seeing those symbols can have a great impact.”
While unable to host many Pride events on campus due to ongoing public health restrictions, and in light of other public Pride events in the community being cancelled for the same reason, Fleischman said the raising of the Pride flag takes on a new importance this year.
“I think it is incredibly important we are recognizing the struggles of the LGBTQ+ community, as well as showing allyship,” Fleischman explained. “As someone who identifies within that community, it’s important for myself and other students to be recognized and supported.”
Fleischman said despite Pride being marketed as a big party, which it certainly can be, it has always been intended to underscore the ongoing struggle for acceptance many LGBTQ+ peoples face in society.
“It’s not really a celebration,” Fleischman stated. “It’s more of a recognition. The fact we need a Pride is to bring awareness to the issues we face in the community- the fact that we are fighting for our rights still. Even though things may appear well, there are still some systemic issues that we need to face.”
The flag raising also complemented the university’s launch of a new LGBTQ+ resources website at uleth.ca/lgbtq. The site includes policies, procedures and support services, guidelines for the use of pronouns and links to various research projects happening throughout the university, including about gender and sexuality.
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