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As part of the Pride Month celebrations, we are running a #OCDSBCelebratesPride campaign where we asked OCDSB students the importance of Pride Month for them and what it means to see the Pride Flag at OCDSB schools. This is what they had to say...

Pride Month means being able to express myself any way I want. It's a month that lets me be seen as I am, and it lets me connect with other people who are similar. Pride Month is so many different people coming together because of one unique trait. It's showing the world that we are here, and unafraid.

If someone out there is wondering why there's a Pride Month and not a Cis Month, then think about it like this - 2SLGBTQIA+ people have been pushed around in society forever. They deserve some recognition, some understanding, some awareness. It doesn't take much to support them.

Pride Month is an amazing time when we can feel accepted as ourselves. It is a time for everyone of all ages and I am very happy that our school board is not trying to censor LGBTQ+ identities from little kids. I wish I had that when I was younger.

Pride Month is very important to me as someone who is queer (pansexual and non-binary), and seeing the school celebrating it as well is pretty cool. Although I am prideful all year round (and so should you, because you matter!), Pride Month is still a key month and we should understand how the Stonewall Riots gave us the rights we have today in the LGBTQ+ community. It makes me feel included and that I'm in a supported environment :)

Seeing the Pride flag at school shows how diverse the schools are and lets me know and feel that it is a safe environment to express myself in ways of sexuality and gender identity. Pride Month is also a time to remember all of those in the LGBTQ+ community that have fought for our freedom of expression and have died doing so. I hope one day we can all just be ourselves and not be judged for it or at least if we are, it's not done aggressively and in a harmful way using slurs and/or physical violence. Be you and your feelings are valid no matter who says otherwise :)

As someone who is queer and gender non-conforming (she/they pronouns, asexual lesbian), Pride Month means a lot to me, especially because this is my first Pride being out. I only recently came out to my family and friends, and it really sucks that there won't be any big Pride events because of the COVID pandemic, but it still feels amazing to be able to celebrate it. We're lucky to live in a country where most people are really accepting of LGBTQIAP+ identities so we can celebrate just being who we are, and having the OCDSB really acknowledge it feels good too. Pride is just a time where we really get to feel good about ourselves and our sexualities and gender identities, and everyone else can celebrate that with us.

The importance of Pride Month is to show everybody no matter how they represent themselves that they are loved and important. When I see the Pride Flag up at schools it makes me happy to know that we're supporting everybody and making them feel safe and protected.

To me, it means that the world is taking its steps towards becoming a more inclusive world for everyone. I think everyone should be able to be who they are, without fear of what other people will think. Personally, I have a cousin who is transgender and a best friend who is non-binary, and I think they deserve, everyone deserves, all the happiness life has to offer.

It is nice to see the Pride Flag, to acknowledge that everyone is accepted regardless.

Seeing the Pride Flag makes me think about how the staff of this school are trying their best to make all members of this community feel safe and comfortable in this environment. Pride Month is a chance to celebrate our differences and come together.

Seeing the Pride Flag at OCDSB schools makes me happy for all the people who are LGTBQ.

Pride flags are used to show pride in different cultures and to show that everyone should be treated equally. To me, pride flags are very important in this world because it allows everyone in a specific group to know that they feel good about themselves and that it is good to be who you want to be. My sister is gay and I am proud of that because sometimes she gets negative comments but she never stops that from getting to her. Pride flags help people like my sister counter the negative comments that she is receiving. Honestly, pride flags help make the world a better place and teach the next generation that you can be who you want to be without receiving negative comments. I think that's the goal and I would like it to be that way because if I ever have kids I would not want them to go through the same thing that my sister and everyone is going through. Everyone should be treated equally but sadly not yet and maybe never but proud flags can very much help this world to become a better place where everyone is treated equally.

It means a lot as a closeted person to see pride in the community, it makes me feel included and accepted.

Having the Pride Flag up at our school makes me feel good knowing everyone is welcome, and included, to let them be proud of who they are. I think the importance of Pride Month is that everyone can be themselves instead of being ashamed, or trying to hide it. It is important that everyone gets to be their true selves. :)

I think that Pride Month is incredibly important because we need to acknowledge the importance of all of the members of the world no matter what. When I see the Pride Flag flying at OCDSB schools it just fills me with hope for the future because that means that no one's getting bullied just because of their sexuality.

Pride Month is really important to me, I know a lot amazing of people in the 2SLGBTQ+ community who have faced wrongful discrimination, but with Pride Month we are all accepted. With the pride flag up and flying at OCDSB, it means so much more than just representing the 2SLGBTQ+ community. It means accepting people of all backgrounds, sexualities, and gender identity and expression, it means making those people feel seen and heard, it makes me feel seen and heard, it means we fight to support the 2SLGBTQ+ community, and it means we stand against homophobia and transphobia. Having Pride Month, and waving the pride flag high, means the 2SLBGTQ+ community is acknowledged and accepted. It means I am acknowledged and accepted.

I am a part of the community, currently unlabeled but leaning towards omnisexual (the attraction to all genders with a preference, under the bisexual umbrella) or to pansexual (the attraction to all genders without a preference, also under the bisexual umbrella). I find the importance of Pride Month is acknowledging our presence. It was first commemorated by the Stonewall riots in the United States and since then has grown into more of a celebration of our sexual/gender identities. June is meant to lower the oppression and stigma of talking about LGBTQIA+ rights and their presence in society. Currently, my close friends and some family know about my sexuality, and I am feeling more prepared to completely come out to the world this month. I have had my fair share of homophobia from others, but knowing I am welcome at school seeing the OCDSB pride flags is very welcoming and important.

The importance of Pride Month is to make sure everyone in the LGBTQ+ community is treated equally and it also is a reminder that we need to use the preferred pronoun.

When I see the pride flag flying at my school it shows that everyone is accepted and included.

It means a lot to me. Watching the OCDSB Celebrates Pride month shows that there are kids, teachers, and people out there like me. And more people who aren't like me, but acknowledge that I am who I am. I know my identity, and not everyone does, so I'm lucky like that. So when I hear that people care, that they want to try to treat me like I want to be treated, it means so much.

I think it is really amazing to see the pride flag at OCDSB schools it probably makes people who are a part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community more welcomed in the environment. I think it's important to have Pride Month so that members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community can express themselves.

The rainbow flag is a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. It's important to show that we recognize Pride Month and that nobody should be scared to be LGBTQ+. It's unfortunate that some people don't accept it but Pride Month continues for other people to accept who they are. We need to be compassionate for them and support them.

I think it's really great that OCDSB is waving the pride flag across the schools. I think it's important that we celebrate 2SLGBTQ+ because I think it's important for people to be able to express themselves for who they are.

I feel represented. I think it's very important to show love to the community so other students can feel accepted and represented.

To make sure every child feels safe and expresses themself as they wish.

Pride Month shows that people can be and do whatever they want. It's also is about how people are being bullied because of who they are on the inside

Credits:

Created with an image by QuinceCreative - "lgbt gay flag"