A rainbow sticker that is the symbol of diversity and the LGBTQ community will be going up on the door of Revelstoke city hall.
Council voted to allow the sticker after it received a letter from the Safe Spaces Revelstoke Society asking it be put up. In doing so, council overrode a city policy to not issue proclamations.
“Me personally, I don’t see what the big deal is. I know we have this thing about proclamations and we’re concerned about other groups that will be asking,” said Mayor Mark McKee. “I think everybody around the table supports the concept. So, we’re breaking a little rule here and there. I don’t care. I would rather we just go ahead and did it.”
It was the second time the request was made to the city. Last year, Jill Zacharis, the chair of the city’s social development committee, sent a letter to Teresa LeRose in the administration department asking the city put up the rainbow stickers. LeRose responded saying the stickers amounted to a proclamation, a practice the city discontinued in 1998.
“The city prides itself on maintaining its public buildings as a welcoming location for staff, customers, residents and visitors alike no matter their gender, race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, political belief, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, age and so forth,” wrote LeRose, the manager of legislative services, in her letter rejecting the request.
Over the past year, the rainbow flag stickers have gone up in businesses and other public buildings throughout Revelstoke as a symbol they are welcoming to LGBTQ individuals. However, the city has been a holdout for the reason stated above.
Martin Ralph, the president of Safe Spaces, re-submitted the society’s request with a letter to the new mayor and council, noting that last year’s letter wasn’t seen by council and was only dealt with by administration.
“First and most importantly the rainbow flag represents diversity, which our community prides itself in,” Ralph wrote. “It is not in and of itself a gay pride statement of proclamation, and was historically intended to be such, though some incorrectly believe this.”
Displaying the rainbow flag indicates that the space is “open, accepting, positive and safe,” he added.
Ralph wrote that the flags were received positively, but that some had been defaced or removed. “This tells us that there are members of the community who also do not believe the city inclusion policy is true. Again, hence, why the use of the rainbow stickers is so important.”
Council support was unanimous.
“I don’t think (staff) did anything wrong, I just think it’s an easy decision,” said coun. Orlando.