Rainbow flag flying in Prince Edward Island

Ryan Ross
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Abegweit Rainbow Collective representatives Shawna MacAusland, left, and Sarah Smith stand near the rainbow flag flying outside Province House.

Charlottetown and Stratford have joined the list of places across Canada where the rainbow flag is flying in protest of anti-gay laws in Russia.

Sarah Smith, a spokeswoman with the Abegweit Rainbow Collective, said it’s nice to see the flags flying in Charlottetown, like they are in other Canadian cities.

“Even though P.E.I. was a little late on the train it’s nice to see them commit to supporting a global issue,” she said.

As Russia hosts the winter Olympics, a law banning gay “propaganda” has drawn sharp criticism from around the world, including in Canada. Since the Olympics began, several cities, including Toronto, Calgary, Regina, Edmonton, Vancouver and Montreal, have all started flying the rainbow flag.

The flags were raised at Charlottetown city hall, Province House and Stratford town hall this week.

Smith said by flying the flags locally, people in P.E.I. can see the support that’s there for an issue happening as far away as Russia.

“P.E.I. being known for the birthplace of Confederation and being kind of the hub of Canada it’s nice to see them participating in raising the flag,” she said.

Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee said he had a few requests over the weekend to raise the rainbow flag and many municipalities across the country were doing the same thing. Lee said raising the flag was an opportunity for the city to show it supports all members of the community.

“We’ve always said Charlottetown was an inclusive community and there’s just, quite frankly, no reason why we would not fly the flag.”

Justice Minister Janice Sherry said the move to raise the flag shows solidarity across the country.

“I think it’s very positive,” she said.

Sherry said the decision to fly the flags has brought a lot of attention to the issue.

“That, I think, is the purpose of it.”

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

Organizations: Province House

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada P.E.I. Russia Toronto Calgary Regina Edmonton Vancouver Montreal

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Recent comments

  • Gerard Deveau
    February 14, 2014 - 04:33

    For "some" of you who don't care about standing up or speaking up watch on YouTube "Channel 4 documentary Hunted in Russia" We have lots issues to speak out about and each issues has it's place, but we all need to do it together to be "listened" to not just "heard".

  • GO CANADA
    February 13, 2014 - 12:52

    Do you think that awareness is so prevalent and that homosexuality is thoroughly accepted in the so called free world? Hardly. Most could not even agree on Sunday shopping. There are plenty of issues that should qualify for flag raising but lets just stick to the Canadian flag and local flags please! Do you really believe that collectively the whole of the Canadian team feels the same on any issue and there aren't a few homophobes amongst them? Why not a flag to celebrate the Home Children , ..the forgotten part of history. A few still live and have not been recognized for their contribution and losses. Why not a flag for unwed mothers who had their children ripped from them and were thrown in strict abusive unwed mothers homes? Why not a flag to acknowledge those who were thrown in mental institutions years ago for being different or speaking another language? There are too many unrecognized issues and scars . We go to a country and dare think we can educate and boss people when we are there for 3 weeks? I do not want to know who does who, or what goes on in anyone" s bedrooms. Jumping on a issue popular bandwagon will not result in much if any change imo. Insulting another country when you do not know how the common person thinks is ludicrous. I want to watch the Olympics for the sports. I can oppose any subject on my own soil and make a point closer to home first. Clean up our own back yard first perhaps?

    • FYI
      February 13, 2014 - 14:23

      LGBT would fall under your "Why not a flag to acknowledge those who were thrown in mental institutions years ago for being different" so your request was granted :)

  • Wow
    February 13, 2014 - 08:21

    All I can say is, it's a good thing we have educated people making decisions around here lol

  • Cb
    February 13, 2014 - 07:53

    Real Canadian: I hope you're joking. You don't think the LGBT Community has been abused? Are they not innocent? Are they not brave for coming out in a world that discriminates against them for who they are? Google whats happening to gay people in Russia. Watch a couple of videos on Upworthy.com, and come back here when you are a little more educated. The LGBT deserve to have their time in the spotlight with a flag at full mast to help people rethink our bigoted ways. They are not "flaunting", they are raising awareness. If you feel that the world has reversed its look on being "gay", I have news for you. There is a lot of work that has to be done against years of hate.

    • Truth Seeker
      Truth Seeker
      February 13, 2014 - 11:00

      We are aware. To their credit and with all sincerity I applaud the battle won in Canada with equal rights for the LGBT community and all of us. Great job! If people want to help the situation in Russia. Create awareness in Russia. Telling Canadians over and over again what we already know and agree with isn't doing a damn thing. It's like telling a child to clean up their toys over and over again even though they do it every time without being told. I truly believe the LGBT community has no fight left in Canada so every now and then they change the rules on what is an acceptable lable or they jump on the band wagon for someone else's cause so they can literally raise their flag. What's next reparations?

    • Tracey
      February 14, 2014 - 09:35

      Truthseeker..how can you look at these comments and say the the LGBT community has no fight left in Canada?

  • Blake
    February 13, 2014 - 07:30

    The other comments are very unfortunate. I've been born and raised on pei and I have never heard people make such hateful comments. Jane, the bible is a few thousand years old...get over it. Real Canadian and Fed Up, people are being abused and killed in other countries for their sexual orientation. Have a heart and don't put down a group that you may not understand.

  • relax
    February 13, 2014 - 07:26

    How I see it is this. We are all part of this world and are deservingbof the same support regsrdless of sexual orientation race or any other facet of our being. The anti gay in russia has been a publicised thing since the beginningbso cities are just showing support. So get off your hate band wagons and do something more productive than being bigoted wastes of breath and go about your lives. Maybe instead of complaining about a rainbow flag you could go and help starving kids in Africa or you could volunteer at a soup kitchen. Wouldn't that be a better use of your time than being hateful. And to the religious woman at the top of the page. Dude into others as you would have them do unto you....... and I doubt gay people are ruining your life or making you feel like you are less rewarding of kindness because you are straight so why not just leave everyone alone? In closing if the flag bothers you stop looking at it. Thanks :)

    • Thanks for the Chuckle
      February 13, 2014 - 09:38

      " Dude into others as..." Sorry, but considering the topic this line from Relax's comment has to be the funniest thing I have ever read on here.

    • Hilarious
      February 13, 2014 - 11:02

      "...as you would have other dudes into you?"

  • same story
    February 13, 2014 - 07:08

    The people of Syria are reduced to eating grass in a effort to survive and the people of P.E.I. are flying the Rainbow flag in protest . Something wrong with this picture ?

  • Resident
    February 13, 2014 - 06:01

    This is sad...

  • Joe Blow
    February 12, 2014 - 21:11

    Sick of hearing about homosexuals to be quite honest!! You don't see straight people throwing parades for themselves or needing a special flag. Just shut-up already...you are being accepted...just sit there and realize it and quit flaunting yourself to the media all the time.

    • Tracey
      February 13, 2014 - 14:27

      Wow. The answer to that is simple. Straight people aren't being marganlized and discriminated against every single day because of their sexuality. If you want a straight people parade or a flag go for it. FIghting for equal rights is not flaunting. although back in the 1902s that's waht people said about women who ""wanted the vote". Any great social cause starts with activistm and people who are brave enough to stand up and say "this is not OK". BTW, me....straight and female.

  • Garth Staples
    February 12, 2014 - 19:50

    I don't particularly care what flag is flown from city hall , except federal buildings, but would I be allowed to fly the cross of St George from city hall?

  • real canadian
    February 12, 2014 - 19:12

    I cant believe with all the murders terrorism and child abuse in the world we have to fly a rainbow flag in support of people who want to be accepted PEOPLE KEEP YOUR LOVE LIFE AT HOME lets fly a flag in support of the brave and innocent people who have died or have been abused in this world instead

    • Andrew
      February 13, 2014 - 08:29

      You say let's fly a flag for the Brave and Innocent people who have died or been abused In this world. It's to bad you couldn't take a minute and crawl out from under your rock for a minute, you would realize that is exactly what they are doing.

  • fed up
    February 12, 2014 - 19:01

    Talk about jumping on the whiney band wagon. Homosexuals whine about everything ,wha wha fly our flag they a being mean to us in Russia! Strange thing since the games began there is not one report of any discrimination of any kind . The media jumped on the homosexual agenda one more time.