22 Wing/CFB North Bay raises first PRIDE flag

News Article / July 30, 2019

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From 22 Wing/CFB North Bay Public Affairs

On July 17, 2019, military and civilian members of 22 Wing/Canadian Forces Base North Bay gathered outside the Sergeant David L. Pitcher Building to take part in the PRIDE flag raising ceremony in support of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (or sometimes questioning), and Two-Spirited (LGBTQ2+) community.

Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Jolette, Acting 22 Wing Commander, welcomed everyone to the event, held in conjunction with North Bay, Ontario’s PRIDE Festival. He explained that 22 Wing’s vision includes maintaining a climate promoting mutual respect, fairness and dignity for all, fostering unity of purpose in a workplace where people can learn and excel. “The 22 Wing vision is achieved through the promotion of diversity and inclusion,” he said.

22 Wing Heath Promotion’s Trevor Monahan, Co-Chair of North Bay PRIDE Festival 2019,  spoke about being impressed upon hearing that the Chief of the Defence Staff had authorized participation in and promotion of PRIDE events for members in uniform.

“Authorizing all bases, ships and wings to raise the PRIDE Flag to coincide with events in the local community clearly demonstrates the departmental commitment to diversity and inclusion,” he said. “Events like today foster support and create solidarity among us. Whether you’re self-identified as part of the LGBTQ2+ community, or a supportive ally, we all succeed and thrive when safe spaces and inclusive workplaces embrace Pride.”

22 Wing’s PRIDE flag-raising ceremony echoed that of the City of North Bays’ ceremony, held on the same day.

“Everyone should be able to be their authentic true-self, feeling value and acceptance in their home, workplace and community” said the Wing Comptroller Section’s Ordinary Seaman Timothy Zwicker, DLGBTQ2+ Co-Chair. “The first ethical principle in the Department of National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces Code of Values and Ethics is to respect the dignity of all persons, which the Canadian Armed Forces is committed to upholding through the promotion of a culture that is diverse and inclusive of all members, irrespective of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”

The 22 Wing PRIDE flag flew until July 19, 2019, when it was put on display in the foyer of the gym for Wing members and their families to sign. On July 20, the flag was carried in the PRIDE parade alongside the 22 Wing banner to commemorate Pride Week 2019.

History of the PRIDE flag

On January 31, 2018, the Department of National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces launched the Positive Space initiative to promote a safe and inclusive work environment for all employees regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Additionally, the Canadian Armed Forces is implementing gender, diversity, and inclusion initiatives to prevent and address harmful behaviours and ensure the work environment is free from harassment and discrimination.

In 2017 the federal government updated the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to include gender identity and gender expression as prohibited grounds of discrimination.

The PRIDE flag was created in 1979 with eight colors, but two were dropped in favor of the six-color flag used today. At the top, RED represents life, ORANGE is for healing and health, YELLOW represents sunshine, with GREEN reflecting nature, BLUE standing for harmony and peace, and PURPLE exemplifying the spirit. Forty years later, the symbolism holds true.


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