Councillor wants Pride Month proclamation

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A member of Norfolk council flagged an oversight on June 9 as Ontario entered the second week of Pride Month.

Waterford Coun. Kim Huffman pointed out that Norfolk does not have a Pride rainbow flag in its inventory, nor has the municipality issued a news release proclaiming June as Pride Month in Norfolk County. She would like that changed.

“I have had inquiries from the community as to Norfolk County not putting out any kind of news release or anything through our social media accounts acknowledging Pride Month,” Huffman said at council’s committee meeting last week.

“As well as that, (we) have chosen not to fly the flag. That would be a very inclusive move for our LGBTQ-plus community.”

Huffman also wants to review Norfolk’s policy on proclamations to ensure it is up to date and acknowledges vulnerable communities.

“Nothing has been updated in terms of our flag procedures for, I believe, 15 years,” she said. “It’s been quite a long time. In fact, we fly the Crime Stoppers flag but that’s not even part of our repertoire of flags we’re supposed to be flying. It looks like that policy is due for an update.”

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Vittoria Coun. Chris Van Paassen wondered if Norfolk’s proclamation policy could ever be inclusive enough to acknowledge all groups and causes that seek recognition.

“Near as I understand, every month is ‘Something Month,’ every week is ‘Something Week,’ and every day is `Something Day,’” Van Paassen said.

“At what point do we say we only have 365 days and we can’t celebrate 700 different things?”

CAO Jason Burgess is looking into acquiring a rainbow flag on behalf of the county. He says they cost about $100.

Like dozens of other events in the local area, Pride Day in Norfolk and Haldimand was cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. It was supposed to take place May 30 but has been put over for 2020.

“Although we were very disappointed, our committee has been working hard to have a virtual Pride Month with contests every week and online watch parties with some of the musicians and performers who would have performed on Pride Day,” Pride Haldimand-Norfolk said in a news release.

“Pride Haldimand-Norfolk remains concerned about members of the Two Spirit and LGBTQ-plus communities who are particularly vulnerable to infection by COVID-19, in part, because of their lack of access to equitable healthcare and higher rates of pre-existing conditions.”

More about virtual Pride Month in Norfolk and Haldimand, as well as health-care resources for the LGBTQ-plus community, is available at the Pride Haldimand-Norfolk Facebook page. The web address there is https://www.facebook.com/haldimandnorfolkpride/ .

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