This is monumental event in Kelowna and signals a shift of change. In 1997, past Mayor Walter Grey declined to sign a proclamation of Gay and Lesbian Pride Week and abolished any future proclamations for the city. The BC Human Rights Tribunal also ruled against the City of Kelowna, calling the action discriminatory.
The action of the past Mayor left a large cloud over the city and it wasn’t until 2005 when Mayor Sharon Shepherd was elected that the LGBT community would begin a long slow process to rebuild a relationship with the City of Kelowna.
Today, MayorSharon Shepherd overturned her predecessors decision, and on behalf of the City of Kelowna, had the rainbow flag hoisted and proclaimed August 8-13, 2011, Pride Week in Kelowna.
“It seems to be a way of acknowledging that we do have a diverse community and that we are also very respectful of differences in this city,” said Mayor Sharon Shepherd.
Gay Okanagan has been working with the city to have the rainbow flag flown at City Hall.
“We are extremely proud and honoured to have the rainbow flag flying high at City Hall this year,” says Pride Chair, Dustyn Baulkham. “The City of Kelowna and Mayor Sharon Shepherd have been extremely supportive of the LGBTQ community since Mayor Shepherd was elected in 2005.”
For more information on Okanagan Pride Week events, visit their website.