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Surrey Pride underway, but advocate says city needs to do more for LGBTQ community

Last Updated Jun 29, 2019 at 5:02 pm PDT

The Surrey RCMP has raised a pride flag at its headquarters to show support for inclusivity and diversity during Pride month. The hoisting drew a crowd of protesters and counter protesters. (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Hundreds of people are celebrating Surrey's largest Pride Festival, with a party at Central City Plaza

But after a series of demonstrations targeting the LGBTQ community, advocates say the city has to do more

SURREY (NEWS 1130) — Surrey Pride is well underway this afternoon, and hundreds are gathering for festivities at Central City Plaza. This marks 20 years since Pride was first celebrated in the city.

But after protesters rallied against the pride flag at Surrey RCMP headquarters and community members spoke out against a rainbow crosswalk in Richmond, Martin Rooney with the Surrey Pride Society says he can’t help but be concerned.

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“It’s important that we celebrate what we have gained, but we’re also fighting for equality just to be accepted, once again,” he says. “Here we are 50 years later, and it’s almost like a mirror image of 50 years ago.”

He says when it comes to sticking up for the community, more needs to be done by elected officials at city hall.

“It’s very important to elevate the LGBTQ2S visibility in Surrey at this point in time. The city, as you know doesn’t fly the pride flag,” he says.

RELATED: War of words amid protests over raising of pride flag at Surrey RCMP headquarters

Rooney had asked council to raise the rainbow flag, but the idea was quickly shot down, citing the city’s flag policy.

“I was the one who fought this fight with the city in 2014, and the flag policy was created. It’s written, it can be changed,” he says. “There is no willingness of this current council to change it.”

He says support from elected officials will help promote understanding and acceptance, something he says is needed in a city as diverse as Surrey.