Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


The Vancouver gay community tends to gather in the West End neighborhood known as the Davie Village. Like other neighborhoods through-out the City, flags are displayed on lamp poles signifying some aspect of the neighborhood.

In the Davie Village, rainbow flags dotted the streetscape, symbolizing the community and its inhabitants. That is up until a week ago.

The reason why the flags have been taken down remain unclear, however, there is widespread speculation that the International Vancouver Triathlon World Championships, which runs from June 5-8, 2008. These showcase of champions will be going through the heart of the Davie village and this seems the most plausible explanation regarding the erasure of the flags.

But what does this have to do with the gay community you ask?

Well, like in previous years, the triathlon receives international media exposure and a number of prominent community members are saying that organizers for the Triathlon, prefer that international eyes not see the gay flags in what is considered such a masculine-driven sport. Even more so, especially with the 2010 Olympics coming.

Perhaps this is true and if it is, the City of Vancouver has a public relations disaster on its hands.

Just last week, Mayor Sam Sullivan delivered a Mayoral proclamation for International Anti-Homophobia day on May 17, 2008. Unfortunately, the flags were already re-moved for this historic day and replaced with Triathlon flags.

The City of Vancouver engineering department is responsible for placing and dismantling the flags. The decision though about re-moving the flags would most likely have been a political one and someone must answer as to why the flags were re-moved?

Vancouver prides itself on being an inclusive, tolerant, multi-cultural and diverse City. It really seems like a slap-in-the-face to Vancouver's gay community by stripping away from their neighborhood their most visible public display of their community.

Please demand answers from your Mayor and Council by emailing them at mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca

Jamie Lee Hamilton