Maple Ridge Secondary School students participate in a Pride march on Friday, June 17. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Maple Ridge Secondary School students participate in a Pride march on Friday, June 17. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

VIDEO: Maple Ridge secondary students show their Pride

Pride flags of all colours were on display during a parade around the track

Flags of all colours of the rainbow were waved around wildly at Maple Ridge Secondary School (MRSS), during a Pride march outside the school Friday morning.

Led by members of the school’s Rainbow Connection club, students showed their Pride while the school’s marching band played songs from the stands.

Grade 11 student Ava Dewhurst, a member of the Rainbow Connection club, explained that the club wanted to do something special for Pride month and holding a march was like having a mini Pride parade at the school.

Dewhurst believes it is really important for students to be a part of events like the Pride march and to have a space like Rainbow Connection to go to so they can be themselves.

It is a way for Dewhurst, herself, to be able to express herself and be with people who have experienced similar things.

Even though it is getting better for people to show their pride, she said, there are still people who are bullied.

“Having like the support and stuff just makes people feel like a lot safer,” said Dewhurst.

Gabe Liosis, 20, a former MRSS student who graduated in 2019, said when he heard about the Pride march at the school, he couldn’t help himself but to come back and be a part of it.

Liosis expressed how important it is to continue to support events like the Pride march, that, he said, amplify and support the voices of the LGBTQ+ community.

“For myself, I was openly gay in high school and it was really important to me that I had supportive teachers and community members,” said Liosis.

He noted that there are still students who are struggling with their sexuality and don’t know how to have those conversations with friends and family.

READ ALSO: Pitt Meadows has first-ever Pride concert and celebration

“By being open and proud, hopefully we can help those students be who they are,” he said.

Louise Rumble-Siddique, a support teacher at the school and leader of Rainbow Connection, with the help of two other MRSS staff, said there are now 50 members who belong to the club, started by Maria Trudeau, a fellow teacher at the school.

For so many years, people in the LGBTQ+ community did not have a voice at all and were silenced, said Rumble-Siddique.

“Now these kids feel like they belong, that they are part of our community, that they’re loved, that they are accepted, and it doesn’t matter who they are, sexual orientation, culture, race, it just doesn’t matter. What matters is we all feel like we belong, and are accepted” she said.

ALSO: Pride crosswalk now in place on Maple Ridge main street

Rumble-Siddique, 50, who came out herself about 10 years ago, wishes she had something like Pride Month when she was in high school, because, she said, her life would have gone on a different trajectory.

“This fills me with so much hope for the future as well that these kids can feel that like, you know what, they are so significant, they are important and they have so much to contribute to society,” she said.

At the beginning of June Dawn Taylor, a local mental health and addictions counsellor and member of the LGBTQ community, kicked off Pride month as MRSS, telling students at the school about her own experience.

Students also held a Rainbow bake sale, raising $457 for Rainbow Refugee, a charity that helps people who have to flee a country due to the fear of persecution because of their sexual orientation.

There was an arts and crafts session and episodes of Netflix’s Heartstopper were played on a big screen at the school.

Rumble-Siddique said was thankful to the whole school, whom, she said, pulled together to make sure Pride month was successful.

“I just want to say I’m so proud of these kids. They are wonderful human beings and I’m just so glad that they get to have a voice and they are seen again,” she said.


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Maple Ridge Secondary School students participate in a Pride march on Friday, June 17. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Maple Ridge Secondary School students participate in a Pride march on Friday, June 17. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Maple Ridge Secondary School students participate in a Pride march on Friday, June 17. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Maple Ridge Secondary School students participate in a Pride march on Friday, June 17. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Maple Ridge Secondary School students participate in a Pride march on Friday, June 17. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Maple Ridge Secondary School students participate in a Pride march on Friday, June 17. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Maple Ridge Secondary School students participate in a Pride march on Friday, June 17. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Maple Ridge Secondary School students participate in a Pride march on Friday, June 17. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Maple Ridge Secondary School students participate in a Pride march on Friday, June 17. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Maple Ridge Secondary School students participate in a Pride march on Friday, June 17. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Maple Ridge Secondary School students participate in a Pride march on Friday, June 17. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Maple Ridge Secondary School students participate in a Pride march on Friday, June 17. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Maple Ridge Secondary School students participate in a Pride march on Friday, June 17. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Maple Ridge Secondary School students participate in a Pride march on Friday, June 17. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Maple Ridge Secondary School students participate in a Pride march on Friday, June 17. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)