A New Brunswick mother is gaining attention online after penning a social media post speaking out against a “straight pride” flag in her town.
Residents were outraged after a flag was raised in Chipman Village, N.B. earlier this week by the village council, in what they say was a sign of support for all members of the community.
Elaine Bell took to Facebook to eloquently shut down the movement and call for a more inclusive dialogue.
In a Facebook post, she wrote, “My daughter has a rainbow pride flag in her room. In our home, this flag represents love and acceptance and it makes me smile every time I see it. We consider ourselves allies to LGBTQ2. We have zero tolerance for hate and injustice, and while I shy away from most discussions on here, I dig my heels in deep on social injustice because people matter. And this one has been bothering me since last night.”
Bell writes that unlike those who identify as straight, members of the LGBTQIA community have had to fight for acceptance and inclusion in society.
“I had to fight for a lot of things in life, but none of those included the right to have a relationship and marry the person I love. That wasn’t the same for people I know and a LOT of people I don’t know.”
The flag was raised in the village of 1,200 residents, but removed after only a day after what the town says was “unintentional backlash.”
Bell encourages residents not to be fooled into believing the straight flag is a sign of inclusion.
“We can all have differences of opinion, but this is about hate and ignorance, and it’s as black and white as the flag in the photo,” Bell wrote. “This idea of so-called ‘straight pride’ is a product of a movement that mistakenly believes that the rights of certain heterosexuals (generally white, generally male) are threatened every time society evolves to welcome and accept a group that is different from them. Don’t buy into this.”
While many people have expressed hateful and homophobic feelings on the Chipman Village Facebook page, Bell is calling for an open dialogue and education of the plight of the LGBTQIA community to foster better understanding between residents.
“If you still don’t understand why this flag is hurtful, please take the time to LISTEN and LEARN. Read up on events like Stonewall and do a deep dive on the stories of Canadian couples who fought for marriage equality,” she said. “Visit the website of a Straight-Gay Alliance. Maybe ask an LGBTQ2 person how this makes them feel! Remember, your rights are just fine. This isn’t about you. Put yourself in their shoes and you may be surprised at what you learn.”
The New Brunswick resident remains hopeful that residents can grow in their beliefs and let go of their ignorant ideals.
“We have all probably said things about the community in the last 30, 20 or even 10 years that were harmful and hurtful without realizing. That’s rooted in ignorance and a lack of understanding, and man, is it ever embarrassing once you realize that you should have known better. I put myself in that group. But it’s also enlightening and reassuring that we are that much further evolved as a society once we know the difference. So please: listen, learn and choose love. And don’t be afraid to call out hate and ignorance when you see it.”
Like many parents, Bell remains hopeful that the dialogue can turn into a more accepting and inclusive future for her children.
“Let’s turn the corner and try to learn from this. I have same-sex married friends who are raising beautiful children and doting over grandchildren, friends with trans children, friends who have been bullied and physically harmed because of who they are and who they love. I want a better world for them, and my kids and their friends, and if I could be so selfish, me!”