Locals take part in red equal sign movement

Shara JJ Cooper
By Shara JJ Cooper
March 31st, 2013

Facebook users around the world have been swapping their regular profile pictures for a symbol of equality and some Boundary residents are happy to take part.

The symbol – a red square with a pink equal sign – is being used to show support for Californians as they fight Proposition 8, a 2008 referendum that banned gay marriage.

The issue had its day in the Supreme Court of the United States, March 26 and 27. While the law doesn’t directly affect Canadians, some local residents feel the message is universal.

“I think that everyone should be allowed to get married,” said Grand Forks resident Jessica Webb – also known as A’lynn. “It’s not fair that they can’t. I always show support for what I believe in.”

Webb swapped out her picture as soon as the trend went viral. For her, the message is personal. Webb identifies as pansexual, a term used to describe an individual that can be attracted to anyone regardless of their gender identity or biological sex.

As a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community she feels there is a lack of awareness in the area.

“No one has known about it, other than the people I have told,” she said. She encouraged some of her friends to also change their profile pictures but not everyone has taken part.

Webb involves herself in larger, Internet-based communities and has met people in California that are directly affected by the laws.

“None of the people I know are getting married but I have friends in California that this law would affect if they were getting married,” she said, noting they have all changed their profile pictures to the red equality symbol.

Another Grand Forks resident, Colleen Welsh, changed her profile picture as soon as she caught onto the trend.

“It is already an issue that I fully support, so it only felt natural for me to change my profile as well,” said Welsh. “I believe that everyone is entitled to have the same rights as everyone else — eual rights all across the board. We are all human, and we all deserve the same rights and respect.”

Welsh also feels the issue is global, even though the laws aren’t locally applicable. By changing her profile picture, she is able to make her support more widely known.

“It definitely has relevance in our community,” said Welsh. “I personally know two transgendered people in this town, as well as quite a few homosexual and bisexual oriented people that live here. They deserve all the same rights as the rest of us.”

Proposition 8 is the name used to describe the bill officially known as “Hollingsworth v. Perry.” The plaintiffs are fighting for the right for homosexuals to legally marry in the state of California – a right that was taken away in 2008 when Proposition 8 was put into effect.  

Categories: GeneralPolitics