Proud and honoured; two of the many words that Paladin Security Officer Skylar Ellerback used to describe the feeling of raising the Transgender Pride Flag for the Halifax Infirmary on Transgender Day of Remembrance this past year.
Transgender Day of Remembrance is an annual observance on November 20 that honours the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority raises flags each year to acknowledge this day. Paladin Security in Halifax participated in the event by acknowledging the day with a group of officers at the Halifax Infirmary, raising the flag to honour those in our local communities.
Paladin Security Healthcare Operations Manager Thomas Taggart commented on the event, saying;
It was an honour to support this moment. Our team is so talented and dedicated to the company, we can only return that dedication and support as it is what the Paladin Family is all about.
Following up to the raising of the flag on November 20, Skylar shared:
Everyday there are transgender men and women who wake up and hope that they don't have to deal with ignorance or ridicule. Waking up to the thought of "How many confused looks will I get today?" is a constant worry that when we (the transgender community) step out the door; we may be bullied or judged for being the people we are and are meant to be. This is why days like Transgender Awareness Day are important.
That day, although maybe insignificant for many, is a significant one for all of those who may be struggling with gender identity. It is a day where we can hold our heads just a little bit higher than the day before. A special day to feel just a little bit more confident and comfortable in our own skin; a day to hopefully be able to educate those who need it.
I can't express how great it feels when the company you work for chooses you specifically to take part in an event like this. To be personally selected, especially in a company with many employees, feels very special. It feels like it's not just another day and that instead of just choosing someone who was readily available on site, they chose someone who feels the struggles that that flag represents. They made the effort to truly care about the day instead of just letting it pass without a thought; for that, I will always be grateful.
The raising of this flag is another step toward public awareness and education. It fills our hearts with more hope towards the future of Transgender Awareness. As a proud transgender man, I hope this continues for years to come.
In photo (from left to right): Skyler Ellerbeck, Sherrie Shannon, Kyle Joudrey, Shawn Bentaeu, Tom Taggart