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Town of Truro and gay group reach agreement

Two sides move forward; flag policy unchanged

MOVING ON. Charles Thompson of Rainbow Proud, shown in Aug 2007, has reached an agreement with the Town of Truro, but the government-flags-only policy will not be changed. Credit: (Tamara Zann-Roland photo)

The Town of Truro and the local gay Pride group recently reached an agreement to move forward following last year’s rainbow flag incident.

Last summer, Truro, Nova Scotia made national headlines when the mayor and town council refused the request of the local Pride committee, headed by Charles Thompson, to fly the rainbow flag as part of the gay Pride celebrations. Members and allies of the queer community were outraged at the time by statements issued by the mayor who cited Biblical passages as the basis for his decision and for his condemnation of homosexuality in general.

In June this year, a joint statement was issued by the Town of Truro and Charles Thompson of Rainbow Proud (formerly Truro Pride) in which the town apologized for the confusion regarding its flag policy — which, however, remains unchanged.

The town “agrees to work with Rainbow Proud… to move forward in a positive manner,” the statement reads. According to the release, the town has “amended its affirmative action policy to include sexual orientation as a category of the designated employment equity groups.” It also says that “the Town of Truro and Rainbow Proud commit to work together to conduct an educational and awareness-raising program to be provided to the mayor and council of the Town of Truro dealing with issues of heterosexism, homophobia and gender identity.”

Neither Thompson or Truro council wished to say anything further beyond the agreement.

With Pride season in full swing, it remains to be seen if the Truro statement will encourage other Nova Scotian municipalities to respect the value of diversity.