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Open to everyone: Montague businesses show support to LGBT community

<p>Betty Woodpage wants everyone to know they’re welcome at the Awakenings Inn in Montague. Woodpage is one of several business owners who’ve shown support for the LGBT community in the town with signs or flags showing the rainbow.</p>
<p>Betty Woodpage wants everyone to know they’re welcome at the Awakenings Inn in Montague. Woodpage is one of several business owners who’ve shown support for the LGBT community in the town with signs or flags showing the rainbow.</p>

Display rainbow flags or signs in support gay pride week since municipality itself will not

MONTAGUE, PE - The doors at Awakenings Inn are open to everyone.

The inn is one of several Montague businesses that has displayed rainbow flags or signs in support the LGBT community since the municipality itself will not.

Owner-operator Betty Woodgate said she was not exactly sure what the town’s motivation was in not raising the flag.

However, rather than pointing fingers, Woodgate decided to instead to put up a sign.

“It’s ridiculous to think that would even be a judgmental factor in this day and age,” said Woodgate. “I want everyone to feel included and welcome here and to never feel judged on their sexuality in my business. I respect everyone equally.”

Woodgate, who is originally from Alberton, bought the now 99-year-old home and restored it to an inn about eight years ago.

RELATED: Historic kick-off as pride flag flies over HMCS Queen Charlotte

While Woodgate said she feels attitudes towards sexuality have changed for the better, she also recalled an incident from about six years ago.

Woodpage said a gay couple had knocked on the inn’s door looking for a place to stay after having been turned down from two other Island businesses.

“They came here knocking looking for a place to stay and feeling very embarrassed,” said Woodgate, who took the couple in. “I was quite shocked.”

Woodgate said she was not sure where the couple had been turned down, other than it had occurred in P.E.I.

“Maybe things are changing… I don’t know,” said Woodgate. “I just thought I would be a voice for positivity.”

Town council decided last October to no longer make proclamations for any group, which means the municipality will not raise a rainbow flag for Pride Week.

The decision was criticized by Pride P.E.I. and Charlottetown-based Sign Craft, which also donated lawn signs to residents and businesses in the town.

While there were few residences with visible signs, a number of businesses had signs or flags in their storefront.

My Personal Touch salon was another one of those businesses.

Owner Kathy MacLean, who has worked in the town for about 15 years and operated the current location for about nine, said many don’t see an issue with the town flying the rainbow flag.

“I don’t see what the whole problem is, I just don’t understand it,” said MacLean.

MacLean said the sign was purchased by aesthetician Amanda Jackson, who operates in the same building.

Woodgate said she was informed of the town’s decision by her daughter before reading some of the media reports surrounding the backlash.

 “I’m not 100 per cent sure of everything going on, they were saying they don’t fly flags for anything and that it’s not a judgmental thing,” said Woodgate. “If it’s just a rule, maybe they (town council) need to review that thought and see if we can put up flags for special events.”

mitch.macdonald@tc.tc

Twitter.com/Mitch_PEI

MONTAGUE, PE - The doors at Awakenings Inn are open to everyone.

The inn is one of several Montague businesses that has displayed rainbow flags or signs in support the LGBT community since the municipality itself will not.

Owner-operator Betty Woodgate said she was not exactly sure what the town’s motivation was in not raising the flag.

However, rather than pointing fingers, Woodgate decided to instead to put up a sign.

“It’s ridiculous to think that would even be a judgmental factor in this day and age,” said Woodgate. “I want everyone to feel included and welcome here and to never feel judged on their sexuality in my business. I respect everyone equally.”

Woodgate, who is originally from Alberton, bought the now 99-year-old home and restored it to an inn about eight years ago.

RELATED: Historic kick-off as pride flag flies over HMCS Queen Charlotte

While Woodgate said she feels attitudes towards sexuality have changed for the better, she also recalled an incident from about six years ago.

Woodpage said a gay couple had knocked on the inn’s door looking for a place to stay after having been turned down from two other Island businesses.

“They came here knocking looking for a place to stay and feeling very embarrassed,” said Woodgate, who took the couple in. “I was quite shocked.”

Woodgate said she was not sure where the couple had been turned down, other than it had occurred in P.E.I.

“Maybe things are changing… I don’t know,” said Woodgate. “I just thought I would be a voice for positivity.”

Town council decided last October to no longer make proclamations for any group, which means the municipality will not raise a rainbow flag for Pride Week.

The decision was criticized by Pride P.E.I. and Charlottetown-based Sign Craft, which also donated lawn signs to residents and businesses in the town.

While there were few residences with visible signs, a number of businesses had signs or flags in their storefront.

My Personal Touch salon was another one of those businesses.

Owner Kathy MacLean, who has worked in the town for about 15 years and operated the current location for about nine, said many don’t see an issue with the town flying the rainbow flag.

“I don’t see what the whole problem is, I just don’t understand it,” said MacLean.

MacLean said the sign was purchased by aesthetician Amanda Jackson, who operates in the same building.

Woodgate said she was informed of the town’s decision by her daughter before reading some of the media reports surrounding the backlash.

 “I’m not 100 per cent sure of everything going on, they were saying they don’t fly flags for anything and that it’s not a judgmental thing,” said Woodgate. “If it’s just a rule, maybe they (town council) need to review that thought and see if we can put up flags for special events.”

mitch.macdonald@tc.tc

Twitter.com/Mitch_PEI

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