Nova Scotia

Rainbow flag flies in Truro ahead of town's 1st Pride parade

The Pride flag flew high in Truro Monday, marking a move forward for a town that has been refusing for fly the rainbow flag for nearly a decade.

Truro made national headlines in 2007 when council voted against flying the Pride flag

Lifelong Truro resident Al McNutt raises the rainbow flag in front of the Truro Town Hall on Monday. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

The Pride flag flew high in Truro, N.S., Monday, marking a move forward for a town that has been refusing to raise the rainbow flag for nearly a decade.

Truro resident Al McNutt, founder of the Northern Healthy Connection Society, says he's thrilled to have had the privilege to hoist the flag — something he says he never thought he would see in his lifetime.

"I'm thrilled, actually it brought tears to my eyes when I was raising that flag because it was long overdue," McNutt said.

'I'm very proud'

The flag will fly at the town hall all week, as Truro readies for the first ever Truro Pride Parade this Saturday.

"I think it's going to be an exciting day and I think it's going to be a new day for Truro," McNutt said.

People think that Truro is a very Bible belt community and homophobic, and it really isn't.- Al McNutt

About 30 groups have already confirmed plans to walk in the parade, and McNutt said they are working on finalizing another 30.

McNutt said he had no trouble getting permission to hold a Pride parade — he simply submitted a permit to the police department.

"I'm very proud to be a part of it and be a part of Truro because a lot of people think that Truro is a very Bible Belt community and homophobic, and it really isn't."

National headlines

The town made national headlines in 2007 when it voted 6-1 against raising the rainbow flag to coincide with Pride activities in Pictou County. The move sparked a local gay rights group to file a human rights complaint against the town.

At the time, Mayor Bill Mills said that as a Christian, he simply could not support the request to raise the flag.

The Pride flag didn't fly in Truro until last month, when council decided to fly the flag at half-mast in honour of the victims of a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando. Coun. Gregory MacArthur called the move "a historic day" for the town.

Embracing the future

Pam Osborne, a policy officer with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, said Monday's flag raising is about "celebrating the present and embracing the future."

"The community has certainly come together and embraced the pride flag and what it represents," she said.

"It represents community, it represents love, it represents peace and most definitely represents respect for all."

​Saturday's parade will start at 2 p.m. at the tourist bureau.

With files from Craig Paisley