In an unprecedented move, some Catholic school boards in the province are flying Pride flags outside their schools in honour of Pride Month, which officially began June 1st. The Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) is one of these boards, noting in a statement that the move is a testament to their goal of upholding “inclusion, dignity and respect for all.”
“Flying the Pride Flag increases our awareness of the dignity of each human person and our care for all who may be marginalized,” the statement continues. “Much like our Catholic principles of respect, inclusion, fairness, equity, and social justice, each colour of the Pride flag carries a significant meaning, and we encourage all to take the time this Pride Month to learn more about how these values align.”
Pride Flag Flown by Catholic School Boards Described as a Sign of Solidarity
Only decades ago, Pride events celebrating LGBTQ2S+ culture like parades and parties took the form of riots and protests instead as the community fought for change. The Catholic school boards’ decision to fly the rainbow flag outside their schools represents another small but significant stride forward for the LGBTQ2S+ community and anyone else who identifies with the Pride movement.
In a recent tweet, the TCDSB states they are “proud to proclaim the month of June as Pride Month in solidarity with 2SLGBTQ+ students, staff and allies.” They held a virtual Pride Month celebration at 9 a.m. Tuesday via YouTube, which included a viewing of education officials raising the rainbow flag outside the Catholic Education Centre in North York.
An Important Step Forward
The director of education for the TCSDSB also tweeted about the raising of the flag, noting that it was “truly an honour to be part of this important moment.” He encouraged community members to come together this June, “unified in the sacred message of love and inclusion.”
Community members voiced their support for the board’s move to fly the flag, noting their efforts at inclusion are not yet over, but that it was indeed a big step forward for the organization.
Catholic School Board Flags Will Be up for Pride Month
Other Ontario Catholic school boards flying the flag for the first time this year include those in Ottawa and Niagara. However, some of the province’s Catholic school boards like the Halton Catholic District School Board voted against flying the flag. Some Twitter users voiced their dissent for the TCDSB’s decision, arguing they were “no longer teaching Christian values.”
The Ontario Catholic schools that have chosen to fly the flag will do so for either the first week of June or the entire month. The TCDSB is also celebrating Indigenous Heritage Month, Portuguese Canadian Heritage Month, Italian Canadian Heritage Month and Filipino Canadian Heritage Month this June.