It only took a moment for Dianne Crowell and Shelley McCorriston to raise the pride flag over the historic town of Lunenburg, but the act represented decades of fighting for equality.
The town held a flag raising ceremony on Friday, July 20, to help celebrate the LGBTQ community.
McCorriston, who is the chair for Lunenburg Pride, said that she was overwhelmed by the support by both the sponsors and the townspeople.
“It’s so breathtaking,” she said. “It’s just so great to see a community come together for a really good cause.”
The whole event was something that McCorriston, who grew up in a small rural community, never could have imagined years ago.
“Growing up, I never saw anyone living openly the way I felt inside,” she said. “It took me 25 years to come out of that closet.”
The ceremony marked a third consecutive year that Lunenburg held a flag raising and it is an event that draws support from various groups across town, including the RCMP and local fire department.
Following the flag raising, McCorriston had an opportunity to address the crowd and noted the importance of being accepting and open.
“I’m gay, I’m proud and I’m living my truth,” she said.
BriAnne Simons, who is a clinical therapist on the South Shore, attended the event with her two children and said it is important to celebrate our differences.
“It’s really important for us in particular because we have a child who expresses gender differences. It’s really important for everybody to feel like they have a sense of acceptance and love,” said Simons.
Simons opened her practice in Chester as a result of people looking for support with LGBTQ children.
“I had a lot of people reach out,” she said, noting that she specializes on child and play based therapy services.
The atmosphere at the event was energetic and featured face painting, games and a barbecue.
Cpl. Adam Jackson, a diversity policing co-ordinator with the Nova Scotia RCMP, said it’s important for the police to build relationships with the communities they serve.
“These events are great. It gives us the opportunity to interact with the public and the people we serve in an atmosphere that is congenial and fun,” he said.
Lunenburg deputy mayor Peter Mosher was also on hand for the event and thanked the crowd for their attendance.
For McCorriston, she said she wished that something like Pride Week would have been active in her youth.
“Looking back, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the fear was in coming out because I’ve been so lucky to be accepted by my family and friends,” she said.
And in coming out, McCorriston is a part of a movement serving as role models and trailblazers for future generations. There’s a rainbow flag in Lunenburg to prove it.