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Albany school flies Pride flag for first time in celebration of LGBTQIA+ students for Wear it Purple day

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ASHS students Jamie Gardiner, Ash van Dongen with teacher  Ellie Matson.
Camera IconASHS students Jamie Gardiner, Ash van Dongen with teacher Ellie Matson. Credit: Laurie Benson

Albany Senior High School raised the rainbow flag for the first time on Friday as a celebration and show of support for its LGBTQIA+ students.

The milestone came as part of the school’s celebration of Wear it Purple, an international day to champion the creation of safe, welcoming and supportive environments for LGBTQIA+ youth.

Organised by the ASHS Pride Club, this year’s celebration was marked with a purple-themed free dress day, face painting, cupcake decorating, music and special activities.

Wilanie Sparkham and Ash van Dongen.
Camera IconWilanie Sparkham and Ash van Dongen. Credit: Laurie Benson

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An ASHS Pride Club spokesperson said flying the Pride flag for the first time outside the school was a way to show the community that LGBTQIA+ people were “equal and should be treated equally”.

“The flag shall represent a safe place for all LGBTQIA+ and ASHS students,” they said.

ASHS board chairwoman Natalie Jarvis said it was important to take active steps to make schools a safer place for LGBTQIA+ students by stamping out homophobic and transphobic bullying.

ASHS principal Melissa Walker and student Jamie Gardiner.
Camera IconASHS principal Melissa Walker and student Jamie Gardiner. Credit: Laurie Benson

“A day like Wear it Purple is so important to the ASHS community as it shows the steps the school is taking toward being more inclusive, safe and welcoming to all students and families that are diverse in their gender and sexuality,” she said.

“ASHS has been taking great steps internally over the past few years to upskill all staff on pronouns and inclusive language but it is also important that the external signals a school sends to the students and families and the wider community is so visible.

“We hope that it inspires other schools in the region to fly the Pride flag as well as make positive changes in their schools.”

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