‘I never thought I’d see the day’

LGBTQ seniors group gather to raise the pride flag outside Langley City Hall

Seniors of Langley, a local LGBTQ group, gathered outside city hall Monday afternoon to raise the pride flag alongside council members and supporters of all ages.

Lynn Richards, a group member who came out for the event, said “I never thought I’d see the day the pride flag raised. I remember raids during the 1950s and 60s – but we’ve seen a big shift. It’s a different world.”

Another senior, Ron Lindsay, said he was there “to support anti-bullying and diversity. This day means freedom for all people.”

Around fifty people were gathered in the plaza in front of 20399 Douglas Crescent to show their support, handing out rainbow cupcakes, buttons, and miniature flags.

There was no one who came to oppose the flag raising, though there was RCMP on site taking precautions – some of whom were wearing pride buttons.

The short program included speeches from Mayor Val van den Broek, who quoted the White Rock Elk’s club, saying “E stands for everyone, L stands for love, and K stands for kindness.”

The Elks Club hosted the White Rock Pride Society’s flag raising over the weekend.

A representative from the Cloverdale-Langley City MP office shared a message on behalf of John Aldag.

Seniors of Langley organizer Sue Higginbotham then took the microphone to say a few words before raising the flag to claps and cheers.

“This generation of seniors specifically has had one hell of a time with systemic and familial discrimination. Identities were hidden because of it,” Higginbotham said.

The flag raising is a first for the group, which was formed in 2017 to provide a sense of inclusion, belonging, and meaningful connections for LGBTQ seniors.

“We meet at the Timms Communtiy Centre and share, connect, listen, and have lunches. We have about 15 members but we hope to start making more decisive plans for the group,” Higginbotham added. “We had no idea this many people would show up – it’s fantastic.”

Higginbotham said the pride flag raising in Langley has been held by the Friends of Dorothy LGBTQ group in the past, but her group was contacted by City Councilor Nathan Pachal to do the honors.

“The youth has been interested over the years, but someone told me there was no queer seniors in Langley,” Pachal explained. “It’s about diversity including younger and older generation coming together. Knowing that Langley City accepts you is a powerful message.”

The Seniors of Langley group meets monthly and is open to anyone new who wants to join; people can email seniorsoflangley@gmail.com.

Read More: Senior’s to raise pride flag

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