The recent history of Langley Township and the LGBTQ community is not an inspiring one.
At the turn of the millennium, Langley Township council would proclaim almost anything. Girl Guide Day? Sure. International Kitten Festival? Sure. Ham Lovers Week? Why not.
Then they balked when they were asked to proclaim a Pride Day. (Although there has been a complete changeover on council since then, we should note that even at the time the vote was not unanimous.)
Eventually, council changed its policy from all but rubber stamping every proclamation to proclaiming nothing at all.
A lot has changed in the last decade and a half.
Surrey held its first Pride Parade recently, and it has held regular Pride events for many years.
Pride parades have become thoroughly mainstream, with mayors from across Canada vying with federal and provincial politicians to take part. It is now only notable when they don’t.
Canada legalized same-sex marriage 11 years ago, and B.C. was ahead of the game.
Yet bigotry is still widespread against the LGBTQ community, and bullying is still a serious issue for many young people.
In the United States, the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando is one of the most horrific recent examples of the targeting of the gay community. Other countries still legally or socially persecute people for their sexual orientation.
In Canada, suicide and self harm remain greater threats to LGBTQ youth than to their classmates.
One of the best things we could do for our current LGBTQ citizens, and for young people, straight or gay, is to show that we are a welcoming community.
A Pride event would be a good start.