LGBTIQ+ Nova Scotians and government employees were celebrated today, June 28, as the Pride flag was raised outside Province House in Halifax.
“Pride flag-raising is about so much more than a rainbow flag. It symbolizes our commitment to making the Nova Scotia public service and our Nova Scotian communities safe and inclusive spaces for people of diverse sexes, sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions,” said Maddi MacDonald, co-chair of the LGBTI Network. “It’s about making space for others to be who they are and about being proud of who we are in all of our diversity.”
Government has been raising the Pride flag outside Province House since 2010. The ceremony was especially meaningful this year following the tragic loss of 49 lives in Orlando, Florida in a shooting targeting members of the LGBTIQ+ community.
“Today was about showing solidarity with our LGBTIQ+ colleagues, family, and friends,” said Deputy Premier Diana Whalen. “As a government, we take the social and legal inclusion of people from the LGBTIQ+ community very seriously, and we have demonstrated our commitment to ensuring this is reflected in our laws.”
A number of projects in support of LGBTIQ+ inclusion were recently introduced by government. The Guidelines to Support Trans and Gender Variant Employees were released in May, while the government’s Positive Spaces initiative was introduced last year.
Ongoing initiatives such as these help make government workplaces welcoming, supportive, and inclusive for LGBTIQ+ Nova Scotians and employees.
“The innovative and transformational thinking that resulted in these initiatives is the foundation of a culture change within the public service. It is change that we can see every day,” said Public Service Commissioner Laura Lee Langley. “As the deputy champion of the Diversity Roundtable, I can attest to the importance of continuing to advocate for a workforce that is free of barriers and discrimination for all people.”
Last year government removed the requirement for Nova Scotians to have sex reassignment surgery in order to change the sex designation on their birth certificate, while also making important updates to the Change of Name Act. These were issues raised by the LGBTIQ+ community and acted upon by government.