Cheers erupted as Vernon marked its first-ever Pride Week on Monday.
Dawn Tucker, spokesperson for Vernon Pride, said the raising of the rainbow flag at City Hall was something she had long hoped for.
"As someone born and raised here, I had hoped that this would happen one day – and I'm 48 years old now," she said as a crowd of about 75 gathered for the event.
The bottom line, said Tucker is that "you are loved."
She said Pride Week is a "time to celebrate diversity in our community and the people that we love."
Vernon-Monashee MLA Harwinder Sandhu said: "People say we have come a long way," but she noted there is still a long way to go in a society where conversion therapy clinics exist.
"You are loved. You are valued ... and your rights are protected," she said to applause.
"These are human rights, not social issues. Love is love."
Acting mayor Akbal Mund said the occasion is all about "standing together."
"This unveiling kicks off the very first Pride Week in our community."
"The colours of the flag represent togetherness," he said.
Constituency assistant Teresa Durning read out congratulatory remarks from MP Mel Arnold.
After the celebration, the crowd moved on to Coldstream, where the 2SLGBTQIA+ flag (Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, and additional orientations) was also raised.
Events will continue through the week.