Amid debates about LGBT issues and education in Vancouver, UBC unveils inclusive rainbow installation

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      While rainbow crosswalks have been popping up in cities and town all across British Columbia, schools have begun to install them as well.

      For instance, BCIT created one at its Burnaby campus in May.

      Today (October 15) in Vancouver, UBC joined the rainbow connection by formally unveiling its first Pride installation painted on a wall outside the AMS Nest at the University Commons Plaza on its Point Grey campus.

      The rainbow was funded by the graduating class of 2018 as a gift to the university.


      Online voting, community feedback, and an advisory committee helped to determine the location and the design.

      The design includes the colours of the LGBT rainbow flag, the transgender flag, as well as black and brown stripes.

      “By adding the black and brown stripes, we show our support for inclusion and recognize the diversity, intersectionality, and leadership of historically marginalized community members within, and beyond, the LGBT2SQIA+ movement,”, UBC associate vice-president of equity and inclusion Sara-Jane Finlay stated in a news release. “The UBC Pride Installation is a permanent symbol of the university’s commitment to building an inclusive campus community. By placing this mural in a public location, we hope to signal that UBC is a positive space for all.”


      The unveiling is particularly timely, amid ongoing debates and developments about LGBT issues and education that have become particularly heightened locally over the past few months.

      In June, Trinity Western University (TWU), a Christian-based university in Langley, B.C., lost a Supreme Court of Canada case against the Law Society of B.C. over accreditation of its proposed law school.

      The university had been engaged in a longrunning legal battle and debate since 2012 in its attempt to gain accreditation across the country for its law school. Controversy had arisen due to TWU's covenant, which requires students to abstain from sexual activity outside of opposite-sex marriage, as critics argued it discriminated against LGBT people.

      In August, TWU made the decision to drop its covenant.

      Meanwhile, during municipal election campaigns, numerous debates, rallies, and controversies have arisen as candidates and groups have polarized over the B.C. government’s sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) policy in schools.

      Despite pressure from conservative Christian-based protesters, the B.C. government, backed by numerous education partners, stood its ground and affirmed its support for SOGI in schools on September 29. 

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook. You can also follow the Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at @StraightLGBT or on Facebook.