Showing posts with label Rainbow Flag. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rainbow Flag. Show all posts

July 20, 2019

An American-Rainbow Flag Put Up by Straight Neighbor in Myttle Bch.Stirres Raw Emotions


by Deevon Rahming

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) — An American gay pride flag hanging in a Myrtle Beach neighborhood is stirring up some raw emotion from the people who live nearby.

Danielle Guido considers herself a gay ally. She says she hung the flag in an effort to "make America great again."

"I thought to myself what does that actually mean, 'Make America great again?' And when I thought about some of the things that it stands for, I started to become upset because that time in America wasn't great for everybody, you know," said Guido.

Guido said she made a decision to purchase the American pride flag online and to hang it in time for the Fourth of July.

"Initially, obviously, I was super excited when I bought it, and then I got it home and I opened it up and I was like, 'Okay, wow, like, yeah, are you ready to do this, Danielle, because it is still 2019,' but, South Carolina, you know," said Guido.

Unaware of the impacts hanging the flag would have on her community, within 48 hours, feedback from the neighbors started rolling in-- including a handwritten letter.

"At first it was weird just 'cause it was not addressed personally to me, so I was like, weary of the letter, and when I opened it and I just started crying," said Guido.

Guido says with a nation divided, she just knew the letter was hate mail coming for her flag as she began to read the letter.

The letter reads:

"Dear neighbor, Thank you - your pride American flag is everything! I honestly cannot express what it means to our family to see your flag hang proudly - My trans son smiles every time we drive by. It's a scary world and your pride makes everything brighter."
Guido said it is little gestures like hanging up a flag that can make all the difference in someone's life.

"Hanging up this flag had a purpose, and somebody feels better at night because they feel seen and heard and represented in our community," said Guido.

For Danielle, this flag is more than just a political statement to her neighbors.

"I'm hoping to just inspire people, you don't have to be gay to stand up for gay people. You know, you don't have to look or be like your neighbor; we're all different, and that's what important and that's what makes America great," said Guido.

A message of love Guido hopes will inspire others.

And, as for the trans-son referenced in the anonymous letter:

"If you're out there and listening, you are loved and thank you for being brave to be who you are... It is a scary world and your bravery is going to inspire someone else, too."

Guido says she's received lots of support since hanging the flag on the Fourth of July from friends and neighbors. She says the flag will stay up until it's worn out, which she will then purchase another one.

July 11, 2019

The Man Burning The Rainbow Flags in New York Has Been Arrested


   Image result for man arrested in NYC rainbow burning

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man has been arrested for allegedly burning a gay pride flag outside a Harlem bar.
Police said Tuesday that 20-year-old Tyresse Singleton, of Harlem, is facing hate crime and arson charges.
Surveillance footage shows a man intentionally setting fire to a pride flag hanging in front of the Alibi Lounge on Seventh Avenue around 12:30 a.m. Monday.
That wasn’t the first time the popular gay bar’s property had been destroyed.
On May 31, a man was caught on camera setting fire to two pride flags outside the same bar.
Statistics from the NYPD show that while overall crime in the city is down, hate crimes have spiked 64% this year.

Image result for man arrested in NYC rainbow burning

July 9, 2019

Rainbow Flag Set Afire Outside New York Gay Bar

                 Image result for rainbow flag set on fire in nyc

A rainbow flag was set on fire at the entrance to a New York City gay bar on Monday — the second such incident at the same club in just over a month. 

Alibi Lounge owner Alexi Minko said staff members, alerted by someone on the street, found the flag had been set aflame between 12:20 a.m. and 12:45 a.m. New York City police were already investigating a possible anti-gay bias crime after rainbow flags at the Harlem bar's entrance were torched just after midnight May 31, a day before the start of the city's Pride Month celebrations.

"I have to say that what I find odd was the timing of both events," Minko said. "One was at the beginning of Pride and one was right at the end. One has to wonder if there's a kind of message they're trying to send." 

Man who allegedly set fire to 3 black churches faces hate crime charges
The suspect was arrested and is being held on $2 million bails, police said.

Woman beaten to death with a motorized scooter, police say
No injuries were reported in either incident.

Minko told The Associated Press that a staff member also had to remove the rainbow flags from the bar's entrance on July 4 because people on the street "were intentionally setting off firecrackers" at the front door. Besides that, he said, the club hadn't received any other threats during or after Pride Month.

Monday's flag-burning is also being investigated as a possible hate crime and no suspects have yet been identified, a New York City police spokesman said. Minko said staff members didn't catch a glimpse of a potential suspect, but the building's landlord has cameras trained on the bar's front door.

Business at Alibi Lounge, which bills itself as the city's only black-owned gay lounge, is typically slow on Sunday nights, Minko said.

Minko hadn't expected the flag-burning to happen again after police released surveillance video of the suspect in the May 31 incident. Officers regularly surveilled the establishment after that, and had even stopped by Saturday night, he said.

"Second time around, I'm really kind of in shock, I have to admit," Minko said.

June 19, 2019

The Rainbow Flag to Fly Over California Capitol

For the first time in state history, the flag of LGBTQ Pride flies above the California Capitol.

The Rainbow Flag, which sits below the U.S. and California state flags, will fly til July 1.

It’s no coincidence that this historical act — mirroring similar ones in Colorado and Wisconsin – comes amidst a President Donald Trump administration ban on the flying of such flags at U.S. embassies.

“In California, we celebrate and support our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community’s right to live out loud – during Pride month and every month,” Newsom said in a statement Monday. “By flying the Pride flag over the State Capitol, we send a clear message that California is welcoming and inclusive to all, regardless of how you identify or who you love.”

Vice President Mike Pence, who has a history of opposing LGBTQ political efforts such as marriage equality while governor of Indiana, defended the administration ban.

“When it comes to the American flagpole and American embassies and capitals around the world, having the one American flag fly is the right decision,” Pence said.

The rainbow flag routinely flew outside many embassies in recent years. The Pride flag was flown during Pride Month as part of then-President Barack Obama’s advocacy for LGBTQ rights, according to the Washington Post.

Several U.S. embassies, including ones in South Korea, India, Chile, and Austria, have defied the administration edict and flown the Pride flag, according to Huffington Post.

Monday’s historical rainbow flag raising is the first time it’s flown above the Capitol. In previous years the flag was hung from balconies inside and outside the Capitol, and the building was illuminated in rainbow colors in 2015 to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to affirm same-sex marriage as a right in all 50 states and U.S. territories.


June 11, 2019

Despite Trump Anti Gay Decision Against The Rainbow Flags Still Many Embassies Are Displaying Them

Image result for rainbow being display on which embassies
  US Embassy in Seoul South Korea
German embassy flies rainbow flag in show of support for Turkey’s LGBT community
German Embassy in Turkey

"Just bcause we have a lying anti gay president trying to accomodate the homophobes in his party and changed his mind about the LGBT community does not mean the rest of the world has" Adam

American diplomats in Brazil recently sought State Department permission to fly rainbow flags this month at the United States Embassy and a consulate, citing an increasingly hostile environment for gay Brazilians since the election of the far-right President Jair Bolsonaro last fall.

Washington rejected the request in what some see as the latest sign that the Trump administration may be quietly abandoning the advancement of rights for gay and transgender people as a foreign policy imperative.

The rainbow flag may not be displayed on a “public-facing flagpole,” the department instructed personnel in Brazil and at other missions across the world last Monday.

The symbolic gesture had become routine at American diplomatic posts since 2011, when Hillary Clinton, then secretary of state, proclaimed in a landmark speech that “gay rights are human rights.” 

The State Department has taken other steps that reflect its shift since the Obama administration days.

There was no public statement this year marking June as Pride Month, and no cable to all its missions like one last year that gave detailed suggestions on celebrating gay pride and “strongly encouraged” them to “advance LGBTI human rights policy objectives” all year.

The department has quietly eliminated the position of special envoy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights as a high-profile, stand-alone job.

And it is creating a Commission on Unalienable Rights, which gay-rights groups fear is intended to narrow the scope of American advocacy. The panel aims to “provide fresh thinking about human rights discourse where such discourse has departed from our nation’s founding principles of natural law and natural rights,” according to a notice posted on the Federal Register, a government journal, on May 30.

Still, American diplomats in Brazil had no reason to expect official resistance to their proposals to commemorate Pride Month as in years past. 

In a memo, teams at the consulate in Rio de Janeiro and the embassy in Brasília suggested that in light of Brazil’s increasing political polarization under Mr. Bolsonaro, their actions would “be an opportunity to show support for not only the L.G.B.T. community but minority rights as well,” while showcasing “pride and confidence in our own diversity and strength as a society.”

The State Department’s curt rejection left gay personnel and their backers reeling. In conversations this past week, American diplomats who are gay described a prevailing mood of fear and angst. None would speak on the record for fear of retaliation.

Robyn McCutcheon, a foreign service officer who in 2011 became the first transgender American diplomat to transition on the job, expressed disappointment in a recent blog post about the department’s decision not to issue the standard yearly cable encouraging embassies to mark gay pride or a day against homophobia that is observed every May 17.

“Day by day, a death by a thousand cuts, our rights as lgbt+ Americans are being eroded with the removal of a guidance here, the rewriting of a policy there, or just the quiet disappearance of a website,” she wrote.

Officials at the State Department did not respond to questions about the flag policy or say whether the advancement of gay and transgender rights continues to be a foreign policy priority. And while they declined to shed light on the intent of the new commission, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently told reporters it would help him decide how to think about human rights in diplomacy.

“How do we make sure that we have a solid definition of human rights upon which to tell all our diplomats around the world how to engage on those important issues?” he asked. 

Gay advocacy groups said they expected the commission to be a setback.

“We sincerely doubt that this commission is being organized to ensure that the human rights of LGBTQ people and others who experience extreme violence and discrimination are being protected to the fullest extent,” said Ty Cobb, global director of the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group.

He added, “Trump and Pence have made it clear they are not allies to the L.G.B.T.Q. community — neither here at home or abroad.”

Mrs. Clinton’s 2011 speech before a United Nations body in Geneva that “gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights” represented an ambitious bid by the United States to lead a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality and expand the legal rights of gay and transgender people.

American focus on the issue helped galvanize same-sex marriage movements across the world. The Obama administration sought to make headway even in deeply conservative nations, at times coming under criticism for endangering the advocates it sought to empower.

Washington’s stance matters, rights advocates say (still the changes helped by the Obama administration worldwide have not gone backwords yet)

“In environments in which marginalized populations have little other recourse within their own government, they saw the United States as a protector,” said Rob Berschinski, the senior vice president for policy at Human Rights First, who worked on rights issues at the State Department in the Obama administration. “The United States government walking back on issues like L.G.B.T. rights matters deeply to those communities; for some it’s a matter of life and death.”

Under President Trump, the United States has not formally abandoned gay and transgender rights as a foreign policy imperative, but the quest has lost visibility and momentum. Some senior diplomats have continued to champion the issue, but they no longer have a comprehensive policy directive to follow. 

Mr. Trump’s announcement this month that his administration would lead an effort to decriminalize homosexuality across the world has been met with criticism, given his administration’s rollback of rights at home for gay, bisexual and transgender people.

In Brazil their rights have been considerably expanded in the past decade, with permission to marry granted by the courts in 2013 and the ability to change names and gender markers on public documents now made relatively easy.

In addition, Brazil’s top court is expected to issue a ruling this month making homophobic acts a criminal offense.

But anti-gay violence is widespread, and many people feel increasingly vulnerable with the rise of elected officials like Mr. Bolsonaro, who said in 2011 that he would rather have a dead son than a gay son. In April, he said Brazil should not market itself as a destination for gay tourists because “we have families.” Anticipating action on homophobia from the top court, the president told supporters he was inclined to appoint an evangelical justice.

Amid this backdrop, a midlevel diplomat at the American Consulate in Rio de Janeiro sent an email to a supervisor in mid-May seeking approval to raise the pride flag alongside the American flag for all of June.

Scott Hamilton, the consul general, backed the idea in a memo to the embassy in Brasília, noting the “atmosphere of increased intolerance and acts of homophobic violence.”

Embassy personnel supported the request, too, and planned to raise a rainbow flag at their compound as well during a public ceremony on June 19. 

The rejection from the State Department set off frenzied speculation about what it meant for American leadership on gay rights.

At other diplomatic posts, including the American Embassies in South Korea and Israel, pride flags or banners have been put up in public view — but not on flagpoles, as the State Department specifically prohibited. The United States Embassy in Germany, where the ambassador is the most prominent openly gay diplomat in the Trump administration, plans to do the same.

But not in Brazil. In a notice issued Friday, the embassy instructed personnel at the five consulates in the country to ensure that any pride “flags are placed internally.”

May 30, 2019

Dublin Reverses on The Rainbow Flag, Yes It will Be Displayed

After a week of negative publicity, the Dublin City Council likely will reverse itself and approve flying the rainbow Gay Pride flag next month at City Hall.
Mayor David Haubert and Councilman Arun Goel are now willing to reconsider after hearing from supporters of the LGBTQ community. Haubert, Goel and Councilwoman Melissa Hernandez, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday morning, had previously voted against flying the flag. 
Haubert said Wednesday morning that the council would hold a special meeting June 4 to consider adopting a flag policy and approving a June 22 ceremony to hoist the Pride flag for the rest of the month.
He said he was swayed by conversations with constituents and discussions with Emeryville City Councilman John Bauters, who is gay, about the sensitivity of the issue in the LGBTQ community.
Meanwhile, in a Facebook post, Goel said that after many discussions, “I believe that we should have an inclusive flag-raising policy, and YES, I believe that the LGBT pride flag should qualify.”
The bad news is that the embarrassing and painful episode has exposed that, lest there was any doubt, homophobia remains in the Bay Area. As speakers at the May 21 Dublin City Council meeting showed, vicious falsehoods about gays, lesbians and transgenders still have a foothold.
Haubert and Goel acknowledge that they should not have let those hateful comments go unchallenged. “I personally apologize for not being a more proactive voice in directly addressing any inappropriate comments,” Goel said.
June marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the spontaneous protest of police raids of a club in Greenwich Village. The demonstrations served as the catalyst for the gay rights movement in this country.
Cities like San Jose, Oakland, and San Francisco fly the LGBTQ’s rainbow flag each June to mark Gay Pride month. In the suburbs, Concord flies the flag, something that would have been unthinkable 30 years ago, when voters rejected an ordinance barring discrimination against people with AIDS.  
And, in another sign of suburban progress, the neighboring Walnut Creek City Council voted unanimously this month to fly the flag for the month of June. Speakers lined up to support the effort; no one spoke against it.
Then came the effort in Dublin, led by Councilman Shawn Kumagai, who, as a gay man, knows what discrimination feels like. He served 10 years of active duty in the U.S. Navy under the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
Kumagai proposed a council proclamation declaring June LGBTQ Pride month and flying the rainbow flag at City Hall. Councilwoman Jean Josey, who has worked in the Dublin schools, joined him.
“I see these struggles of our LGBTQ youth for their acceptance, for their safety, for their feelings of worth, for their feelings of not only their physical safety, but their emotional safety,” she said.
“It is very, very important that we send a message to all members of the community, but particularly our youth, that they are worthy just for who they are and nothing else.”
The proclamation was approved unanimously. The fight was over flying the flag.
Opponents warned the council of a “slippery slope,” sometimes reaching the point of absurdity.
One speaker insisted the council would have to raise flags for Jewish, Christian, Muslim and atheist pride months; for Inner Mongolia and Outer Mongolia pride months; and, said the balding man, for the “follicly challenged.”
Another said the city would have to fly the Confederate flag if residents demanded. And the owner of a gun shop insisted the council would have to fly the NRA flag.
They were wrong. There is no legal slippery slope.
If the council doesn’t discriminate on the basis of race or religion, it is free to issue the proclamation and to raise flags of its choosing as a form of free speech, says constitutional law expert Vikram Amar, dean of the University of Illinois College of Law.
Then the comments to the council turned ugly, likening gays to “immoral destruction,” pedophilia and the deterioration of the public school system. It was a regression to the fearmongering seen in the suburban East Bay in the 1980s.
What was most disturbing was the reaction from the dais, with Goel, Haubert, and Hernandez embracing the slippery slope argument and thanking everyone for their comments — what Goel called “a lot of great speeches, a lot of great opinions.”
As Goel and Haubert repeatedly claimed that the city is already inclusive, they ignored comments they had just heard that showed otherwise.
The irony wasn’t lost on Josey. “Quite frankly some of the comments highlighted why we need to be hanging the flag,” she said. They showed “exactly why this particular (LGBTQ) community does not feel safe both emotionally and physically — still in 2019.”
Fortunately, Goel and Haubert apparently now understand that, too.

December 27, 2018

A Rainbow Holiday Story in Which The Flag Was Stolen and Then The Miracle Happened

A display of LGBT solidarity in an Illinois community is warming hearts around the country. After a gay pride flag disappeared from a home in Barrington, neighbors sprung into action: They put rainbow flags outside of all of their houses, too.

Casey Handel and Zadette Rosado moved to Barrington in May and so are a new couple in the neighborhood. Earlier this month, they were alarmed to discover that someone had covertly gone onto their property and taken down the pride flag they'd been flying behind their home. The thief replaced it with an American flag.

"We were pretty devastated as far as, who would do this?" Handel told WGN-TV. "Why would they do it?" One neighbor heard of the incident and was also disturbed. Kim Filian — who didn't know the couple well — ordered a pride flag herself and stuck it outside her house to show her support.
"I was astounded that this happened in our neighborhood, right around the corner," Filian told ABC 7. "That was just so disturbing to me." Barrington is a wealthy town in the Chicago metropolitan area. The Chicago Sun-Times recently called the Barrington area "heavily Republican," though its most central precincts went for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election (surrounding precincts went for Donald Trump).

ABC 7 Chicago on YouTube

When other community members learned of what Filian had done, they wanted to join in — so she ended up ordering a whole batch of flags and distributing them to neighbors. "The outpouring of support and everything was just immediate," Handel told ABC 7. "Everybody was saying, 'I'm so sorry this happened, this is not reflective of our community.'"

Now pride flags are flying outside homes all around the neighborhood. WGN-TV reports that people also sent Handel and Rosado gifts and paid them visits. The incident has helped bring them and their neighbors together.

"Whenever there's a bad situation, I always remember there's a silver lining, and this was our silver lining," Rosado told WGN-TV.
Handel spoke to the outlet about the effect that the show of solidarity is having on their two daughters. "We said, 'Look at what all the good people are doing, look at all the nice people in the world. For every bad person, there's 100 nice people,'" she explained. "It is a really good lesson for them, and for all the children in the neighborhood, to see that there's good in this world and it always outweighs the bad."

The couple's story spread over the holidays, and many people were moved by the Barrington neighborhood's response to the flag theft. Filian told ABC 7 that the incident made her "angry." When speaking to WGN-TV, she connected it to a broader climate of hostility in the country (hate crimes have spiked in recent years). "Frankly, I've grown weary of this, of all this hate," she said. "It just seemed like there was one thing that I could do that I had control of."

WGN-TV reports that Handel and Rosado are tying the knot at the end of this month.

July 10, 2018

How To Hide The Rainbow flag in Plain View in Anti Gay Russia


In recent years, Russia’s anti-LGBT legislation has made for a toxic environment for the country’s LGBT community. In 2013, a law passed that banned “gay propaganda” in Russia, including the rainbow LGBT flag.
To protest Russia’s homophobic discrimination, six activists from FELGTB decided to display the rainbow flag in plain sight … with soccer jerseys.
The group donned jerseys from Spain, Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia and visited iconic sites in Russia. They even stood beside Russian police.

They wrote of the project, called Hidden Flag:
When Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow flag in 1978, he did so to create a symbol and an icon for the LGTB community. A symbol, recognisable across the world, that people could use to express their pride.
Unfortunately, 40 years later, there are still countries in which homosexuality is persecuted, sometimes even by jail sentences, and in which the rainbow flag is forbidden.
Russia is one of these countries.
Because of this, we have taken advantage of the fact the country is hosting the World Cup at the same time as Pride Month, to denounce their behaviour and take the rainbow flag to the streets of Russia.
Yes, in the plain light of day, in front of the Russian authorities, Russian society and the whole world, we wave the flag with pride.
How? In a way that no one would ever suspect. Football shirts.
Spain, The Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia. Six countries. Six brave LGBT activists, that together, form the flag that toured around iconic sites in Russia, traveling to every corner to fight against a struggle that will never be silenced.

November 29, 2017

Egypt in an Act of Terror to its Own People Sentences 16 Men to 3 yrs For Displaying The Rainbow

Sixteen men arrested last month during a crackdown on homosexuality by the authorities in Egypt have been sentenced to three years in prison.
A court in Cairo found 14 of them guilty of "inciting debauchery" and "abnormal sexual relations" on Sunday. The other two were convicted on Monday.
However, they have reportedly been freed on bail of 5,000 Egyptian pounds ($282; £211) each pending an appeal.
The verdict for the 17th man on trial in the same case has been delayed.
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) says at least 75 people have been arrested since rainbow flags were raised at a concert in the capital on 22 September, provoking a public outcry in the socially conservative country.
Only 10 of the arrests are believed to have been related to the flag-raising. Most of the others were entrapped through online dating apps, according to the EIPR. At least five men were subjected to anal examinations.  
Homosexuality is not explicitly criminalized under Egyptian law. Instead, the authorities have relied on a 1961 prostitution law to charge people suspected of engaging in consensual homosexual conduct with "habitual debauchery".
The bill defines "homosexuality" for the first time and sets penalties of up to five years imprisonment. "Promoting or inciting homosexuality" is also punishable by up to five years in prison. But someone convicted on multiple charges under different provisions of the law could face up to 15 years in prison.
The public promotion or advertising of any lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) gatherings or parties would also be punished by up to three years in prison, as would the display, promotion, sale or marketing of LGBT signs.
The bill also includes a clause that licenses the authorities to publicly "shame" individuals convicted of a related offense by publishing their names and sentences in national newspapers.
"This deeply discriminatory bill would be a huge setback for human rights and another nail in the coffin for sexual rights in Egypt," warned Najia Bounaim, Amnesty's North Africa campaigns director.
The draft bill is expected to be reviewed and discussed by parliament during its current session and if voted for, it would be sent to the president for sign-off.

October 31, 2017

The Rainbow with the American Flag Will be Displayed Permanently in a Michigan City

The Rainbow Flag flies beneath the American flag at the Stonewall National Monument, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, in New York. The Rainbow Flag, an international symbol of LGBT liberation and pride, was flown for the first time at the monument. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) 

I thought this small step deserved a mention because it is only a beginning representing a community full of heroes and heroines that have shown the world not only how to die but more importantly how to live and this is only a few years since the revolution of StoneWall. Adam

The City of Ferndale has become one of the first government municipalities in the United States to officially and permanently display the LGBT Pride flag in its city council chambers.

According to a news release issued by the city in Metro Detroit, the "historic" move was approved by Mayor Dave Coulter and city council on Oct. 23.

"Our motto in Ferndale is 'Good Neighbors,' and we interpret that to include the diversity of our residents and guests and the benefits of inclusive decision-making," Coulter said in a statement. "My fellow Council members and I strive to act in ways reflective of Ferndale's shared values."  

Ferndale was recently recognized by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation as one of the most LGBTQ-friendly communities in America. 

These are the most LGBTQ-friendly cities in Michigan
Three Michigan cities received perfect scores in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's report identifying the most LGBTQ-friendly communities in the United States.

A short ceremony honoring key Ferndale LGBT community leaders, past, and present was held on Monday, city officials said. 

"I hope our residents will see this as an opportunity to once again embrace the differences in all our 'good neighbors'," Coulter said.

"In doing so, I believe we will see that the flag represents more than LGBT rights. The rainbow of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple--representing life, healing, sunlight, nature, art, and spirit--stand as vibrant symbols of hope for the entire community. As mayor, I can think of no better symbol of the power of unity and what our town stands for than the values symbolized in this flag."

Detroit News

October 7, 2017

The First Time The Rainbow Will Fly Permanently on Federal Land

It’s a rainbow-colored triumph whose meaning is compounded by the shadow President Donald Trump’s administration has cast over LGBT rights. A rainbow flag will soon fly at the Stonewall National Monument in Manhattan, the first such flag to be permanently placed on federal land and maintained by the National Park Service, activists announced on Thursday.
“It is a victory for our community to have these symbolic colors flying majestically over our Stonewall, designated as a National Monument by President Obama, even as our LGBTQ brothers and sisters are under attack by the current regime in power,” Michael Petrelis, the LGBT and AIDS activist who initiated the effort, said in a statement. The rainbow flag will replace the New York State flag on the nautical flagpole outside Stonewall, says Ken Kidd, a friend of Petrelis's and a long-time New York City activist who is helping plan the unveiling ceremony.

The first rainbow LGBT pride flag to fly permanently on federal land in the U.S. will be unveiled at Stonewall National Monument in New York City on October 11.  
The flag will officially go up at noon October 11, which is both National Coming Out Day and the 30th anniversary of the March on Washington for LGBT Rights. On that day in 1987, hundreds of thousands of people gathered to call for an end to discrimination and more federal funding for AIDS research and treatment. The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt was unfurled and displayed for the first time on the National Mall with 1,920 panels covering a space larger than a football field to commemorate those who had died.
The Stonewall Inn, a bar located in the Greenwich Village neighborhood, was the site of protests that started on June 28, 1969, that are credited with sparking the modern LGBT rights movement. Then-President Barack Obama designated the bar a national monument on June 24, 2016. “Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights,” said Obama, who had recognized June as Pride Month for several years. 
But a lot can change in a year. Obama’s successor broke with tradition and failed to acknowledge Pride Month in 2017. Kidd says he was surprised the flag project even got approval under the current administration.
The rainbow flag will be “flying on this national monument during a time when we have a president who is not particularly kind or loving to the LGBT community,” Kidd says. 
The first decision Trump made when he snagged the Republican nomination, Kidd says, was to name a “high-profile anti-LGBT” politician as his pick for vice president, citing Mike Pence’s track record in Indiana. That record includes vehement opposition to same-sex marriage and alleged support for gay conversion therapy. He’s not the only one. “If you look categorically at all of the appointments that 45 has made, who he has chosen to lead agencies in his Cabinet,” Kidd says, “one thing they all consistently have in common is an anti-LGBT agenda.” Trump himself hasinstructed the Pentagon to move forward with a ban on transgender individuals in the military, and his Justice Department filed an amicus brief in support of so-called “religious exemptions” that would allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT Americans.
“Stonewall is the site where Americans who had been oppressed, who had been told by their governments they were second class, finally said enough is enough,” Kidd says. “That was a spark that caused a wildfire that gave great inspiration not only to their contemporaries but to the next generations,” he adds. “Our rainbow colors flying in tandem with the stars and stripes is a source of inspiration, a recognition of equality, a recognition of a struggle for equality that is not over by any stretch of imagination.”


September 27, 2017

Seven Men Arrested in Cairo for Raising The Rainbow Flag at Concert

The raising of the rainbow flag was a rare public show of support for the LGBT community in the conservative Muslim country.

Egyptian authorities have arrested seven people they accuse of being gay and promoting homosexuality for allegedly raising the rainbow flag of the LGBT movement at a concert last week, even though there is no law banning the practices.
The flag was a rare sign of support for highly marginalized homosexuals in conservative Egypt. It took place at a Cairo performance on Friday by popular Lebanese indie rock band Mashrou' Leila, a jazzy, electro-Arabesque group whose lead singer is openly gay.
The seven were arrested on Monday and charged with "inciting immorality," security officials said, adding that the Supreme State Security Prosecution acted after authorities discovered the seven had "raised the flag of homosexuals." The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to journalists.
Homosexuality is highly taboo in Egypt among both majority Muslims and the Christian minority, but it is not explicitly prohibited by law. In practice, however, the state regularly seeks to prosecute individuals under alternative charges, including "immorality" and "debauchery," which are normally reserved for prostitution.
Prosecutors also sometimes charge gay people with "blasphemy," which is also considered a crime in a country with severe limits on free speech.
Shortly after the concert, images and videos of the flag-raising went viral, with some praising the move but others posting virulent attacks on social media. An exasperated host on one television channel urged Reza Ragab, the deputy head of the official musicians union, to explain how such a thing could have happened "on Egyptian soil."
"We are against gay art," Ragab said in a phone interview on AlAssema TV. "It is depraved art."
He said the band had all the necessary permits, including approval by the ubiquitous state security services, but added that the union would ban the group from further performances.
Mashrou' Leila has played in Egypt before, although the group was twice banned from performing in Jordan over allegations its musicians violate the kingdom's traditions and commit blasphemy. It is one of the Arab world's few rock acts to gain significant resonance in the West, playing its Arabic-language fusion to a growing number of fans in Europe and the United States.
The band on its Facebook page called the Cairo show, held in a mall in an upscale suburb, one of the best they had ever played, and that it had been an "honor to play to such a wonderful crowd." The feed became a culture war battle zone in subsequent posts, however, with some users hurling insults while others defended the group.
Egypt regularly arrests gay men, with large police raids on parties or other locations such as bath houses occasionally creating media sensations.
The most famous raid was in 2001, when 52 men were arrested at a dance party on a floating nightclub moored on the Nile called the Queen Boat. The men were put on trial in a highly publicized proceeding during which they were mocked in the media, which published photos of them as well as names and addresses. Almost half were sentenced to prison after a trial that was widely criticized by human rights groups and Western governments.

August 6, 2017

The British Ordered The Rainbow to Fly on Northern Ireland Public Buildings This Weekend

The British government on Friday ordered a rainbow gay rights flag to be flown above its main office in Belfast - Stormont House - to coincide with the largest gay pride festival in Northern Ireland, the only British region where gay marriage is illegal.

Gay marriage has been repeatedly blocked in Northern Ireland by the powerful Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

The DUP is currently backing British Prime Minister Theresa May's government after her Conservative Party lost its majority in the UK general election in June.

The Conservative Party was heavily criticized by opposition parties and the British media for doing a deal with a party as socially conservative as the DUP.

"Flying the flag during this week demonstrates our department's recognition and support of the LGBT+ community in Northern Ireland and across the rest of the UK," a British government spokeswoman said.

The UK government's Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire, earlier told the Irish News newspaper that he hoped Northern Ireland's devolved parliament would change its position on gay marriage.

"Whilst policy on equal marriage is entirely a devolved matter for politicians within the Assembly, I voted in support of equal marriage in England and Wales and like the Prime Minister hope this can be extended to Northern Ireland in the future," Brokenshire was quoted as saying.

Leo Varadkar, the Republic of Ireland's first openly gay prime minister, was visiting Northern Ireland on Friday and is due to attend an event connected with the Belfast Pride festival on Saturday morning, though he said he would not attend Saturday's parade.

Reporting by Ian Graham; Writing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Andrew Bolton

April 4, 2017

Where Our Rainbow Colors Originated

It was 1978, and San Francisco’s gay community was on the hunt for a symbol that represented their fight for equal rights. So Gilbert Baker, a 27-year-old artist and drag queen, began brainstorming. He felt his people needed an icon that would simultaneously communicate beauty, diversity, and power. It also had to be easily replicable. Then it hit him.

Armed with sewing skills he had honed while assembling costumes for his lady alter ego “Busty Ross,” Baker pieced together the world’s first rainbow flag. It had eight brilliantly saturated stripes—pink for sexuality, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for magic, blue for peace, and purple for spirit—that could be flown proudly in the air.

Before long, it would become the most prominent symbol of the international gay rights movement.

This past week, Baker died at the age of 65 at his home in New York City. And while his death was premature, he lived long enough to see the rainbow flag proliferate across the globe as a rallying cry for equal rights—and even enter into the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection, where it’s been lauded as a crowning example of effective social design.

At the urging of Paola Antonelli, MoMA’s senior curator of architecture and design, and Michelle Fisher, the department’s curatorial assistant, the museum purchased one of Baker’s flags in 2015. To some, the acquisition was an anomaly for a major museum, where Picasso paintings valued at seven-figure sums also reside. Versions of Baker’s flag, on the other hand, can be purchased for $75 and less in the MoMA shop and on

But Antonelli and Fisher believe the flag’s accessibility—and ubiquity, in some areas of the world—are precisely what make it an influential and historic cultural object. “Baker wanted everyone to have it and to benefit from it,” says Antonelli of the flag. “And from this generosity was born a design success,” continues Fisher.

Gilbert Baker, creator of the rainbow flag attends the 27th Annual Night Of A Thousand Gowns at the Hilton New York on April 6, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)
Indeed when Baker introduced the rainbow flag in 1978, he didn’t trademark it, as many designers and corporations do with logos and brand identities. Instead of restricting its use, he wanted his community to brandish the flag freely, whether at protests or flapping behind cars, bikes, or out of apartment-building windows.

At the time, Harvey Milk—then a city supervisor for San Francisco and California’s first openly gay politician—was encouraging the gay community to come out, and Barker hoped the flag would amplify his friend’s call. “A flag really fit that mission, because that’s a way of proclaiming your visibility, or saying, ‘This is who I am!,’” said Baker in a 2015 interview with Fisher.

The flag’s bold color scheme and simple layout also served to spread the symbol and its message. Both were easily replicable, whether with strips of colored fabric or a simple marker or paint pack. And it became even simpler several years later, when Baker reduced the flag from eight to six colors.

In the 1970s and early ’80s, pink and turquoise fabrics were pricey, as was eight-color photo printing. Baker knew that the accurate representation of the flag in photographs was essential to its proliferation, and he wanted to ensure that it was easy and inexpensive to recreate.

And even with fewer colors, the flag’s impassioned message of diversity remained clear and strong. The multihued stack of stripes, according to LGBTQ+ scholar Mary Bernstein, “is a powerful and flexible symbol which enables it to represent the movement as a whole, despite the multiplicity of identities and strategy and goal preferences held by movement members.”

Photo by Tony Webster, via Wikimedia Commons.
Baker and his friends flew the flag for the first time on June 25, 1978, in San Francisco’s United Nations plaza. “We picked the birthplace very carefully,” he remembered. “Even in those days, my vision and the vision of so many of us was that this was a global struggle and a global human rights issue.”

Later that year, rainbow flags flew at gay pride parades in San Francisco—and soon began to pop up at similar protests around the country, and later, the world.

Today, per Baker’s hopes, it is an international symbol for the LGBTQ+ community and its continued fight for equality. It has appeared everywhere from Russia, where same sex marriage is illegal, to Uganda, where homosexuality itself is illegal.

But while Baker’s rainbow flag has traveled far and wide, he acknowledged that it still has work to do. “We are still dealing with huge, massive resistance, even here in our own country, even here in our own city, even in our own families,” he said in 2015.

The reality rings especially true now, in Baker’s home country of the United States, as LGBTQ+ rights are under threat from the Republican administration. And in step, Baker’s rainbow flag again becomes a source of hope and strength, and a crucial tool to rally and organize those who want to fight back.


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