The BC Lottery Corporation headquarters in downtown Kamloops is home to the city’s latest rainbow crosswalk as employees and members of Kamloops Pride officially unveiled the symbol, kicking off Pride Week on Monday with a ribbon-cutting and flag-raising ceremony.
Members of the company’s Pride committee raised both Pride and trans flags outside, followed by BCLC director of corporate services Ted Ockenden, BCLC Pride committee representative Katelyn Boughton and Kamloops Pride vice-president Nicole Stanchfield doing the honours of cutting the ribbon.
The 30-foot crosswalk stretches across the building’s parking lot off Seymour Street and is meant to represent BCLC’s commitment to inclusivity and diversity.
The employees who make up BCLC’s Pride committee brought forth the idea a couple of months ago and the Crown corporation followed through on the installation, wishing to show support for the topic, Ockenden told KTW.
The crosswalk cost about $2,000 and was painted overtop an existing one, Ockenden said.
As for the Pride and trans flags, Ockenden said BCLC has not contemplated if they will fly all year long, but said they will definitely be flown during Pride festivities.
Pride Week in Kamloops runs from Aug. 19 through Aug. 25.
Stanchfield told the crowd that while some may view a rainbow crosswalk on municipal land as a waste of taxpayer money, to many members of the LGBTQ2+ community, it signifies acceptance and support.
In her speech, Boughton, who is a a technical analyst with BCLC, said she was nervous when she came out as a lesbian and trans person, uncertain of how her fellow employees and the company would react.
“I can say that this new rainbow crosswalk demonstrates BCLC’s support of all its staff,” Boughton said.
Kamloops Pride president Sam Numsen told KTW that for youth struggling with gender identity and sexual orientation, seeing a rainbow crosswalk in their city is a strong symbol that they are loved and accepted.
“We’ve seen a few Pride crosswalks pop up on private property or commercial property and, with each one, it’s a statement of that organization’s commitment to acknowledging diversity and also celebrating it,” Numsen said.
Rainbow crosswalks are also located at Thompson Rivers University, at Lansdowne Village and at the Kamloops Airport. City council recently approved installing a rainbow crosswalk at the intersection of Second Avenue and Seymour Street downtown, between St. Andrews on the Square and the Kamloops Museum and Archives.