By Chad Ingram
Published July 7, 2016
This week, the rainbow flag – the international symbol of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community – flew atop the flagpole at the Minden Hills township office for the first time.
Council granted a request to fly the flag during a meeting last week.
That request came from business owner and fifth-generation Haliburton County resident Sinclair Russell.
“As township, we must show support of and celebrate the diversity of every resident and visitor,” Russell wrote. “This year, more than ever, this statement is necessary around the world, including our own county. Minden and Haliburton County is home to a strong LGBT community that includes hundreds of tax-paying citizens, business owners, public figures and seniors.”
Russell made reference to the recent act of homophobic vandalism at a Haliburton Village business and the mass killing of some 50 people at a gay club in Florida.
And Russell is certainly right that the county is home to a strong LGBT community, some if its members responsible for some of Minden’s most thriving and successful businesses, in fact.
Councillors unanimously supported flying the flag for a week, acutely aware that by doing so, they were making a political statement, hoisting the crest of a segment of the human population that continues to be persecuted in almost all parts of the world.
“What is here before us is really a political request,” said Councillor Pam Sayne. “This is a matter of inclusion. The most important thing about this is peace.”
“I think from time to time, we need to make a statement,” said Reeve Brent Devolin.
Flying the flag does not mean that a gay leather bar is going to open on Bobcaygeon Road next week (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
It does, however, say to members of the local LGBT community that they are valued members of the community at large.
It says the local government wants the township to be a place where all people are treated with equal dignity and respect
It says to the outside world that Minden Hills is a place of tolerance, inclusiveness and acceptance.
Who doesn’t want to live in a community like that?