Pride flag a ‘powerful statement’

The City of Duncan’s decision to display the pride flag throughout the Olympics and Paralympics was a powerful statement to LGBT people both inside and outside of the Cowichan Valley, according to several young people who were in attendance as the flag came down last week.

"It’s important because it shows that [the city] is okay with gay people, and that there’s support for gay people in the community," said Collen Ott, a member of the Community Options Society Gay Straight Alliance. "It felt like everybody accepted us."

Duncan raised the flag on Feb. 19 in support of LGBT rights and to protest anti-gay laws in Russia. The flag was provided by Roger Chin and Jim VanDeventer, who sent a letter to city council proposing that Duncan fly the flag.

All members of council were quick to support the proposal.

"When it came up at council, it was a given that we would do it," Coun. Michelle Staples said after the flag was lowered. "We’re a council that really embraces diversity. It was nice to be sitting at a table where everyone felt this was important for the community."