The pride flag is an important symbol that represents ALL members of the community, while also reminding communities the importance of fighting hate and intolerance. Fanshawe College President, Peter Devlin says no one should be targeted for his or her identity.
The flag has been raised before; however, this year Fanshawe has a much bigger presence in the Pride festivities, including its own booth and walking in the annual parade. So, sure enough the flag caught more attention and support from the college’s community this year.
Candice Lawrence is a Fanshawe counsellor, and a former student. Throughout her experience at Fanshawe, she knew there were a lot of LGBT students who wanted to connect with other people in the rainbow community, but couldn’t because they were afraid in a community that doesn’t respect or value them. So, the community wanted to formulate a club; however, their posters were constantly ripped down and defaced. Eventually the members resulted in meeting off campus where they felt safest.
“From having rainbow community club meetings off campus, so people could feel safe, to having the current student clubs, such as Spectrum Fanshawe, sell cookies in the hallways makes my heart proud. So, I am feeling pretty proud of everybody and Fanshawe as an institution for coming this far.” Says Lawrence.
Lynz Vandermeer is a new student coming from Barrie to Fanshawe for September, and she’s impressed with London’s openness and acceptance.
“When I picked Fanshawe I didn’t know they do things like this, and as a gay student it’s really important to me to be able to feel equal.”
Even executives on the Fanshawe Student Union (FSU) are apart of the LGBT community who are exceptionally passionate about seeing the flag rise before them.
For Carlie Forsythe, the FSU President, “It means a safe space: a safe space for students to excel in their studies and extra circulars.”
FSU Internal, Kevin Kaisar says, “It’s a true sign that Fanshawe is a safe and inclusive environment because we are accepting and don’t really care about who you are and who you sleep with because that shouldn’t matter anyway.”
The FSU is encouraging everyone to come out to London’s Pride Parade on July 24th, 2016 wearing red to support Fanshawe College.
Fanshawe is hoping the community gets their flag’s message that the college is a place meant for all people of different dimensions of diversity.
You can find a full listing of the colourful events outlined for the week at pridelondon.ca
Anyone and everyone is encouraged to come out.