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'Happy, excited, relieved': Norwich to fly pride flag


An about-face on an issue that divided an Oxford County community. Norwich Township council has endorsed a motion that will allow the pride flag to fly on a community flagpole.

“I am so happy and so excited and so relieved for the community,” said Tami Murray, the president of Oxford Pride.

The decision effectively overturns a previous bylaw that banned the pride flag from Township property.

The new flag protocol passed in a vote of 3-2 at Norwich Township’s Jan. 9, council meeting.

It allows for a number of community flags to be flown at a new community flagpole, to be erected at a community building under video surveillance.

The following flags were pre-approved for the community pole:

  • The Netherlands Flag
  • The United Empire Loyalists Flag
  • Truth and Reconciliation Day Flag
  • The United Nations Flag
  • Pride Flag
  • The Remembrance Day Flag- Lest We Forget
  • Service Clubs
  • Minor Sports Organizations (including the Norwich Merchants)
  • Every Child Matters
  • Black History Month

The pride flag will fly for one week in June, which is Pride Month.

“It’s a symbol of progress, it’s a symbol of humanity, it’s a symbol of inclusion, acceptance,” explained Murray. “Being able to be safe or a sense of safety. I think that’s what really the message has been all along. It’s, ‘How do we be inclusive, diverse, and equitable in our community?’ And Pride flags demonstrate that.”

Norwich made national headlines last year when it banned all but government flags from Township property. It was interpreted as a way to exclude the pride flag.

The decision led to the resignation of one councillor. Alisha Stubbs stepped down in protest of the decision.

Meantime, the community had become a hot spot for theft and vandalism of pride flags on private property.

Murray said she anticipates there will still be some resistance, but she sees this as a major step in the right direction.

“For community members who have had to experience the violence or destruction of property, the homophobic rhetoric, this is so empowering just in terms of being able to continue to advocate and continue to fly those flags and to have the community shift and be able to do so in a public manner is so empowering,” said Murray. Top Stories

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