In the two weeks since the Olympics closed, heated discussion has followed the decision to raise a rainbow flag alongside the City of Iqaluit and Canadian flags outside Iqaluit City Hall. The flag went up in protest of the anti-gay propaganda legislation passed by Russia on February 10th. City Councillor Simon Nattaq complained that the decision to raise the flag was not brought before council.
In his member’s statement, Nattaq remarked that “People tell me it is not an Inuit custom to be gay.” He also claimed that the raising of the rainbow flag has had an impact on him. Nattaq has received support from Cathy Towtongie, the president of Nunavut Tunnagavik Inc., who commended him for speaking out against the decision to raise the flag.
Former Nunavut premier and current Iqaluit-Sinaa MLA Paul Okalik responded to the controversy by standing in solidarity with Nunavut’s LGBTQ community: “no one deserves that kind of treatment in our territory.”