In the Castro, there is a flagpole on Harvey Milk Plaza. It flies the Rainbow Flag 365 days a year, unless a specific group under the LGBT umbrella has requested that they fly a flag for them. They’ve done it for the Bears, and they do it for the Leather community.
The Merchants of Upper Market and Castro (MUMC) run the flagpole, and when asked in early September to fly the Transgender Flag to honor those who have died because of who they are, the MUMC chose to deny the request. It was rejected on the basis that the request had been made to fly the flag at half mast given the purpose of the day.
Had the organization simply said “We’d be happy to fly the flag so long as we are provided with the flag and we can fly it at full mast in order to comply with safety requirements. It is also a part of our goal to never put the flag at half mast, since we want to represent the strength of the LGBT community” it would have been fine. But no. Instead of offering to fly the flag and demonstrate solidarity with the transgender community, the MUMC chose to deny the request in full.
I am very glad that after 1000 signatures and many emails they chose to remake their decision and are now planning to fly the flag on November 20th. However, even their acceptance letter leaves a bad taste in my mouth, as they state “This has been a difficult conversation and emotions run very high in both directions on the issue.” and I have to ask – why? Why is it so divisive to fly this flag when others have been accepted in the past? The whole thing has notes of discrimination, and in a community of minorities, during a time when equal rights are being fought for, dividing the community makes little sense.
I hope that the organization considers widening their gaze to include all people under the LGBT umbrella in their considerations with less snark in the future.