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UG Community attends International Day of Pink event

April 17, 2024 

Arthur, ON — Monday, April 15, 2024, students and staff filled the Arthur and Area Community Centre to attend an International Day of Pink Event hosted by the Upper Grand District School Board’s Equity Team. 

The event was attended by students from Wellington Heights Secondary School, Norwell District Secondary School, Erin District High School, Centre Dufferin District High School and Centre Wellington District High School. Monica Helms, creator of the trans flag, as well as Lamar Van Dyke and Adrienne Rosen, two out of the four members of the Brunswick Four, also attend the event as speakers. 

Helms discussed her journey in coming out and her personal experiences that led her to create the trans flag for her community, when asked by students which of her flag designs she was proud of she said “I’m just the creator, I’m more so proud of those who get to use the flag every day.”

Helms’ iconic story for the inception of the flag started nearly 25 years ago when the idea came to her — she envisioned the light blue at the top and the bottom representing the stereotypical “baby boy” colour, then the pink above and below the blue representing the stereotypical “baby girl” colour and the line in the middle is white – neither boy or girl, representing non-binary or in transition. 

Helms hope was when a member of the trans community were to see the flag they would feel represented. 

Van Dyke and Rosen were the second act to grace the stage, sharing a harrowing tale of how they retaliated against unwanted male attention in a public establishment – what would happen next would leave Van Dyke and Rosen on a month’s long journey standing up against police brutality and discrimination in the Canadian legal system. 

Their lesson to the students was “when you see others in trouble please act.” 

At the end of each speakers’ presentation, students were allowed to follow up with questions. 

“Students were beyond excited to be learning about these important elements of 2SLGBTQIA+ history and then speaking with our special guests after the event,” said equity and inclusion leader, Sarrah Beemer. 

At the end of the event, students were excited and empowered by the day’s speakers to apply what they had learned.

You can read more about Monica Helms here and The Brunswick Four here

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