A Langley neighbourhood was draped in rainbows on Monday, several days after the township acknowledged it had “accidentally” removed a Pride flag from a woman’s home.
Lisa Ebenal hung the flag off a sign on the front of her property last Thursday — but a neighbour complained and Township of Langley city bylaw staff removed it, believing the sign was on city property, according to a statement form the city.
The sign, while on Ebenal’s property, marks the entrance to the Bertrand Creek community. The city returned the flag and apologized.
But after the story was widely reported by local media, Ebenal’s neighbours rallied to the cause. She said no less than 15 people in the neighbourhood have hung or plan to hang the rainbow flag in solidarity.
“I’m actually really touched by it. I’m glad that all the frustration that I’ve had at the beginning with the flag and the controversy around it has turned into something so positive.”
WATCH: Pride flag centre of controversy in Langley neighbourhood
What’s more, Ebenal and her neighbours have been invited to march in Vancouver’s upcoming Pride parade with PFlag Canada, a non-profit group that focuses on LGBTQ education and helping family members understand and accept their queer children.
PFlag Vancouver president Colin Mckenna said he reached out to Ebnal because, as a former Fraser Valley resident himself, he felt a personal connection to her story.
“To see what was happening to her, at the same time it breaks my heart, but it lifts me up to see that her neighbours are lifting her up positively,” he said.
“What we wanted to do was to celebrate somebody who obviously is an ally, even though being an ally is not easy, especially where she’s living.
McKenna said standing up for LGBTQ2 rights is particularly relevant in 2019.
He pointed to recent attacks on Pride flags in the Lower Mainland, an anti-SOGI rally in Vancouver over the weekend and outright violence at Hamilton’s Pride parade as examples of intolerance that LGBTQ2 people still face in society.
“Clearly there’s a need for us to do what we do,” he said.
“And there’s a need for allies to be celebrated and to be recognized for sometimes the dangerous and challenging things that they do on our behalf.”