The rainbow flag was raised at city hall for the first time on Wednesday. It was in honour of International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on May 17th.

“Love Makes a Family” was the theme of the day and Gay and Lesbian Association of the Peace Board Member Shawna Watson was asked to speak at the event with her partner.

“It feels amazing. When I came out twelve years ago, I would have thought I would never see a day like this where there is a rainbow flag in redneck Grande Prairie.”

Watson explains that the message the flag raising sends is important to everyone in the peace country. She says it is all about including everyone as a human being.

Roxy Hebert (left) and partner Shawna Watson (right) speak in front of city hall about what family means to them

“There is still families that aren’t accepting of their kids. Their kids don’t feel a part of the family and they don’t feel loved. There is kids and adults, when they are 30 even, that discover they aren’t living their authentic life.”

The day has been recognized in the past as a proclamation. Mayor Bill Given says the step to include to flag raising ceremony sends a message to the community about acceptance.

“I feel pride. However, I do have to acknowledge that there is some trepidation. Social change is not easy. For me and the community, it should come down to the core principles of compassion for others.”

The colourful flag will be flying at city hall until Tuesday, May 23rd.

Mayor Bill Given proclaims May 17th, 2017 as International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia prior to flag going up.