Flag raising marks beginning of Pride Month

By Rosalind Russell – June has been proclaimed as Pride Month across the country, including Espanola and Elliot Lake.

For its tenth anniversary, Elliot Lake Pride is highlighting the LGBT Purge.

Elliot Lake resident, lawyer and advocate Douglas Elliott says the LGBT Purge has been described as the most persistent and damaging workplace discrimination policy in Canadian history, beginning in the 1950s during the Cold War, with Canada wrongly suspected people they labeled as “sexual deviants” as being threats to national security.

He says the policy was ended by a brave lesbian soldier named Michelle Douglas, who successfully sued the federal government in 1992.

As a lawyer, Elliott spearheaded a class action suit in 2018 winning a settlement of $145 million for all victims of the LGBT Purge.

To celebrate the historical milestones, Elliot says he and Michelle Douglas hosted a talk yesterday at the local library and will address Elliot Lake High School students today.

Tomorrow, supporters will host their annual Pride Motorcade at 11 am from the Moose Lodge starting point followed by presentations focusing on the purge fund at one in the afternoon.

Douglas explains one of the outcomes of the LGBT Purge class action settlement was the creation of the LGBT Purge Fund. This non-profit organization oversees a fund of about $25 million for memorialization and reconciliation measures. He says Pride Elliot Lake organizers are delighted that the Board of Directors of the LGBT Purge Fund will be meeting in Elliot Lake this weekend and participating in their tenth-anniversary events.

Elliot adds Saturday’s afternoon presentation will focus on the forthcoming 2SLGBTQI monument in Ottawa. Featured speakers include Martine Roy and Todd Ross, the representative plaintiffs in the class action.

Meanwhile, in Espanola, a fair-sized group gathered at town hall to raise the Pride Flag.

Deputy Mayor Angela Kelly says she was pleased to see so many people support inclusion.

Pride activities are planned in Espanola for September.

Photo: The Pride Flag was raised by Espanola’s Deputy Mayor Angela Kelly yesterday to mark the start of Pride Month across Canada. Pride events will be hosted in Elliot Lake today and tomorrow while Espanola will celebrate with its new group, Espanola Pride, this coming September. Photos by Rosalind Russell

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