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Halton Raises Rainbows High for Pride Month

June is Pride Month, a time normally marked by events in Halton Region, Halton Hills and Halton District School Board (HDSB). But, along with so many other events, COVID-19 has impacted those celebrations. Although, Pride is still being marked and celebrated. The three HDSB schools in Acton are flying their pride flags. Acton UP reached out to local mom and advocate, Jessica Skinner to ask about the significance of this to her family. “When my child, told me they wanted to be the other gender, I was afraid mostly. What would school be like? How would the other kids take it? I'm proud to report that the transition was smooth. The educators, administration, and students of MSB welcomed my kid. It wasn't all roses as you could imagine. There was purposeful misgendering and a sexual assault in the bathroom. But at every turn, we had hundreds in our court. Sometimes it's lonely, really lonely, but, June is different. Our administration quietly hoists the rainbow flag. Every morning arriving, we feel our hearts lift at its sight. It's not to encourage a rainbow way of life. It simply says, we see you and we take pride in you. I can't describe to you the joy that comes over me to hear that powerful visual message. One day I hope to hold a celebration at the base of that flag pole. But for today, I celebrate that our flag is waving.” Mary Marshall, System Principal, Equity and Student Health at HDSB shared that while LGTBQ+ awareness and training are always embedded throughout the school year, “June is when we showcase, celebrate and ensure that students and families are connected with services that support them.” In this new environment, this may not be as evident, but staff have been invited to two virtual professional development opportunities led by the Positive Space Network highlighting the supports available in the region. The board tweeted on June 1 asking all schools to fly their pride flags for the month of June. Some schools are offering virtual “drop-ins” to their LGBTQ+ kids, and while transportation is often listed as a barrier to kids being able to connect with support, more kids are able to reach support in the new virtual format. Both the Region of Halton and the Town of Halton Hills are also flying their pride flags. A statement from Halton Region to Acton UP stated “This year we will continue to fly the rainbow flag at Halton Regional Centre. The flag will fly this weekend from Friday, June 5 to Monday, June 8 to celebrate Pride month and diversity, promote inclusion and show support for the LGBTQ+ community.” Halton Hills Mayor, Rick Bonnette said “Our pride flag is up at the Town Hall and will fly for the month of June.” All events in Halton Hills before September have been cancelled due to COVID-19. While you may not be able to parade, if you have a flag, June is the month to fly it.


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