A group of Antigonish community members have come together to paint what may be Nova Scotia’s longest pride flag.
Andrew Murray, a councilman, said the idea came from Allan Ferguson, teacher and counselor for the gay-straight alliance at Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School.
Murray, Ferguson and Mayor Laurie Boucher were walking back to school after a Pride ceremony in Chisholm Park last month when they passed the long railing fence on St. Ninian Street.
“Allan said, ‘Wouldn’t that make a great pride flag, [a great] area for a flag to be painted? “Murray told CBC Radio Nova Scotia Information Morning tuesday.
The fence is nearly 50 meters long and is made up of a railing and wooden slabs, “so it would naturally lend itself to horizontal painting,” Murray said.
Not only is it a Pride fence, but it can be interpreted as a wall that we change into something more positive.-Andrew Murray
Boucher agreed so Murray made a presentation to the board, which voted unanimously in favor of the idea. The city donated the paint for the flag.
Painting of the fence began on Monday and is expected to be completed this week, just in time for the 2022 Highland Games.
While unconfirmed, Murray believes the fence could be the longest in the province when complete.
He said the Pride flag was particularly important this year, as the LGBTQ community recently celebrated several anniversaries, including the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York in 2019, which marked a turning point in the LGBTQ rights movement.
He said this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Toronto Pride Parade and what would have been the 50th anniversary of the Pride Parade in Oslo, Norway.
The annual parade was canceled after a gunman opened fire inside an LGBTQ bar in Oslo last month, killing two people and injuring more than 20.
“It seems like all the work that’s been done over the last 50 years is in jeopardy if people aren’t safe to go to safe places for fear of being shot,” Murray said.
He said he felt the community was under threat, especially since there have recently been talks to overturn some gay rights in the United States.
After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade, a ruling that now allows states to restrict or ban abortion outright, Justice Clarence Thomas called on the court to overturn other High Court rulings protecting same-sex marriage and gay sex.
The fence represents barriers for LGBTQ people
Murray said the fence represents oppression, which, like a fence, is a barrier for the LGBTQ community.
“As a community we are visible and we have overcome these barriers because we are stronger together, so not only is this a Pride fence, but it can be interpreted as a wall that we are changing into something more positive” , did he declare.
Murray, who was one of the first openly gay councilors in Nova Scotia, said he never had a problem in his seven years on council.
Information Morning – N.S.6:51See the creation of a 160ft painted Pride Flag in Antigonish
He said Pride events are well received in Antigonish and he expects the same from the flag. He said he hoped it would also inspire more LGBTQ people to get into municipal politics.
“It’s very encouraging and welcoming. It’s just the bigger picture of the world that I’m concerned about, and so we can do our part by making our presence known,” he said.
“We come from all walks of life, of course, and I just hope that by leading by example, there will be more LGBTQ members who get into this form of politics. That would be my hope.”