Tuesday, March 20, 2012

3 SF Supes Request UN/US Flag Lowering:
Intl Day Against Homo/Transphobia

Earlier this week members of Gays Without Borders made a request to Supervisor David Campos to introduce a resolution directing the city to lower the United Nations and American flags at UN Plaza on May 17 to honor IDAHO, International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Today, Supervisor Campos agreed to our request and we are so pleased.

He secured the co-sponsorship of Supervisor Christina Olague and Supervisor Jane Kim, before making this brief verbal request on the resolution to be considered by the full board in the near future. This is from today's Board of Supervisors meeting and Campos begins to speak for less than a minute at the 00:31 mark:

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It's terrific to see Campos, who is gay, Kim who is straight, and Olague who is bisexual, presenting a spectrum of sexual orientations, political stripes and supervisorial districts united for this very important global gay day. Here is the full text of the resolution:

Resolution recognizing International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia and calling upon city officials to lower the American and UN Flags in United Nations Plaza for a 24-hour period on May 17th.

WHEREAS, International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) is celebrated each year on May 17th, marking the day that the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses in 1990; and

WHEREAS, IDAHO is a rallying event taking place across the world that offers an opportunity for people, regardless of their sexual orientation, to counter homophobia and transphobia and demonstrate their solidarity with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) communities; and

WHEREAS, LGBT people across the world continue to face discrimination, violence, and even death because of their sexual orientation; and

WHEREAS, Several nations have officially recognized IDAHO, including the governments of Spain, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Costa Rica, the Netherlands, France, Luxemburg, and Brazil as well as several local governments including the Province of Quebec and the City of Buenos Aires; and

WHEREAS, a main objective of IDAHO is to provoke action across the world to fight against homophobia and transphobia using local strategies that correspond to the given cultural, political, and historical context of the place; and

WHEREAS, San Francisco has an international reputation as a beacon of hope, love, and acceptance for LGBT people around the world; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the City and County of San Francisco officially recognizes the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia; and, be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors calls on City Officials, including the Director of the Department of Public Works, to lower both the American and UN Flags in United Nations Plaza on May 17th for a 24 hour period.

In response to this fabulous beyond belief development, the following note of genuine gratitude was sent:

Dear Supervisors Campos, Kim and Olague,

Thank you for the rapid and articulate introduction of the resolution to request the flags at UN Plaza be lowered as well as to recognize International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

We believe it will send a powerful and important message, portraying San Francisco as the inspirational city it is, in which diversity of its citizens is not only tolerated, but respected, celebrated and nurtured.

We also appreciate the efforts of Hillary Ronen and Chris Durazo on your behalves.

We understand that the lack of a protocol and uniqueness of the situation with Merchants of Upper Market/Castro and the flagpole at Harvey Milk Plaza precludes their inclusion in the resolution, and while our preference remains to perform ceremonies at both places to maximize the impact, we are grateful for the resolution you have introduced as written and the powerful symbolism and education that will result from it.

If there is anything else we can do in this regard, please let us know.

We will keep your offices informed of the specifics of the event once we have planned them in more detail, and would welcome and encourage your involvement, either by attending the ceremonies or conveying a few words marking the occasion.

Once again, thank you for your cooperation.

Clinton Fein
Isak Lindenauer
Michael Petrelis
Gary Virginia
Bill Wilson

As soon as we hear from Supervisors Campos, Kim and Olague about the next step forward at the Board to turn the resolution into reality, we'll let everyone know.

In the meanwhile, check out previous posts about what Gays Without Borders did on IDAHO in previous years. In 2008 we showed solidarity with LGBT Russians, for 2009 we called for Iraq to stop murdering gays, in 2010 we staged a kiss-in, and for 2011 we gathered at Cafe Flore.

If the resolution becomes city policy it will mark the first time in our proud five years of participating in IDAHO that we have our city government standing in solidarity with Gays Without Borders and our brothers and sisters around our small planet.

Let's all work together and make IDAHO 2012 in San Francisco the best yet.

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