Pride Month celebrations in Surrey will be virtual once again due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo: Ryan McLeod)

Pride Month celebrations in Surrey will be virtual once again due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo: Ryan McLeod)

Surrey proclaims June to be Pride Month in the city

However, the Pride flag will not be flown once again, with the city citing Surrey’s flag policy

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum has proclaimed June to be Pride Month in Surrey.

He did so at the Monday, May 31st council meeting.

“In recognition of Pride Month, the city encourages residents to participate in events and activities that recognize the past and present challenges of the LGBTQ community,” part of his proclamation reads.

June is considered Pride Month in a number of countries, commemorating the Stonewall riots in New York City in June of 1969.

“The riots were a tipping point in LGBTQ2IA+ history and are credited for giving birth to the modern LGBTQ2IA+ rights movement,” reads a post on the City of Surrey’s website.

While there won’t be an in-person Pride event in the city once again due to COVID-19, the city will be lighting Civic Plaza from June 21 to 29 to display the colours of the Pride flag; sharing the release of a film titled “Emergence: Out of the Shadows” by Alex Sangha, which features Surrey residents; and highlight stories and collections on its social media channels in celebration of Canadian National Pride Day on Monday, June 28.

Surrey Libraries will also be launching a series of initiatives during Pride Month.

The city’s page also mentions the Pride (rainbow) flag and its symbolism, but the city won’t be flying the Pride flag once again this year.

Amber Stowe, the city’s communications and media relations lead, said to the Now-Leader in an emailed statement that city hall has three flag poles “that are raised and lowered in accordance with the City’s flag policy.”

“This policy ensures a consistent approach to displaying flags. The flags displayed at City Hall are the Canadian/National Flag, BC/Provincial Flag and the Surrey/City Flag.”

Martin Rooney, the former president of the Surrey Pride Society, has been trying for years to get the city to raise the Pride flag each year during June.

He said he saw the city’s post on Facebook about the proclamation, saying, “I commented on it that that was great and if they wanted to show true support, they would fly the flag.”

“It seems to me that when the city of speaks of diversity, it’s actually referencing ethnicity as opposed to the overall diversity that the city has to offer,” Rooney said. “That’s my belief where we stand and I’ve raised the issue with the council and I’ve raised this issue in public.”

The last time the Pride flag was flown at city hall was in 2016, and it was at half-mast in honour of the Pulse nightclub shooting victims.

READ ALSO: Surrey flies the gay pride flag, June 15, 2016

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