The pride flag is a symbol of the LGBTQ2+ community and a representation of peace.
“As a gay man you feel so much safer on the street when there’s all the pride flags out,” said Tyler Randall, the co-owner of Endeavours and ThinkPlay, an art supply store.
On the eve of Pride Week in Fredericton, a pride flag was torn off the side of a business on Queen Street. And it’s not the first time vandalism has occurred outside Randall’s art supply store.
“We’ve been experiencing over the past year a number of times where our pride flags have been ripped down, vandalized and been stolen,” Randall said.
“After all the gains we think we made and you realize there’s still hatred and it’s disheartening and it hurts,” said Paula Richard, a Fredericton Resident, who found out about what happened.
The flag pole was cement glued and screwed into the building, the owners say it would have taken great force to rip it off the wall. Randall said he’s disappointed at the lack of tolerance to the LGBTQ2+ community.
“We’re looking for the acceptance to love who we love and the right to feel safe in our own bodies,” Randall said.
Paula Richard said growing up in New Brunswick she never imagined being out and proud.
“It was in the closet, it was dangerous, it was fear, and it was loss of jobs, loss of friends, LOSS. People dying, I was just afraid of everything, you couldn’t do anything,” Richard said.
In March, Fredericton’s government house hosted its first LGBTQ2+ art exhibit and Randall said the late lieutenant-governor Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau played a major role in LGBTQ2+ awareness.
“People in this community do seem to get it and I think in large part that is because some of our leaders like the Lieutenant-Governor gave people direction in understanding as to how to get it,” said Luke Randall, the co-owner of Endeavours and ThinkPlay.
WATCH: Village of Chipman facing increasing backlash for ‘straight-pride’ flag
The city said the act of vandalism and intolerance is unacceptable.
“It’s not what Fredericton is about, it’s something we don’t want to see in our community. I think we live in a safe, inclusive welcoming community,” said Henri Mallet, the City of Fredericton Ward 12 Councillor.
Pride celebrations start Aug. 9 and will run until Aug. 18.
“It would be great if next year the city of Fredericton would paint all four sections of that crosswalk behind us, and did a little bit more and maybe funded some of it,” said Tyler Randall.
The theme of Fredericton pride 2019 is “love 10,” in recognition of the 10th year pride anniversary in the capital city.