This Pride Flag features an anti-violence message

Who: Fondation Émergence and Rethink.

What: A new campaign timed to coincide with the 19th International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (May 17) in which the Pride Flag, the LGBTQ+ community’s longtime symbol, was reimagined.

When & Where: The campaign launched late last week across OOH, social media and online video. Fondation Émergence is also sending flags to government leaders in UN member states that still have homophobic laws on the books, as well as the six UN member states that still impose the death penalty for consensual sex between two people of the same sex.

Why: The theme for this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia was “For some, showing their colours isn’t a choice,” denouncing the physical violence and emotional abuse against LGBTQ+ community.

Fondation Émergence says that human rights activists have witnessed a “significant increase” in violence against LGBTQ+ people, sometimes leading to death, both in North America and internationally. According to a release, the campaign is intended as a visceral reminder that at its core, Pride is a protest movement, and that there is a lot of work still to be done. 

How: The campaign is anchored by a Pride Flag, albeit one whose bright rainbow of colours is slightly muted. The “flag” shows the skin of members of the LGBTQ+ community, with the colours represented by the cuts, bruises and other wounds resulting from anti-LGBTQ+ violence.

“This flag is our message to countries where violence against LGBTQ+ people is sanctioned,” said Laurent Breault, directeur général, Fondation Émergence. “Even in Canada, where some politicians still support conversion therapy, and hate crimes against gay people are on the rise, we have a long way to go. If we all take a stand against homophobia and transphobia, we can stop it once and for all.” 

The organization met with a dozen LGBTQ+ people who have suffered anti-LGBTQ+ violence and agreed to tell their stories, which are housed on a dedicated website called The site also invites people to share their own story.

And we quote: Statistics show that homophobic and transphobic violence has increased internationally in recent years. It was therefore only natural for the Day to make it its main theme this year. Through this choice, we aim to raise awareness and mobilize our elected officials, the international community and individual citizens. Concrete action can and must be taken to allow people to embrace the full spectrum of diversity. We want everyone to achieve full equality—in their personal and professional lives and under the law—regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.” — Patrick Desmarais, president, Fondation Émergence.

Chris Powell