Half-Staff, Except Castro Rainbow Flag
While all American, California, San Francisco and United Nations flags on city property have been flying at half-staff since Saturday to remember the dead and wounded from the gun violence in Aurora, Colorado, one flag flaps in the wind at full-staff: the rainbow flag on municipal land at Harvey Milk Plaza.
President Obama issued this proclamation on Friday:
As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on July 20, 2012, in Aurora, Colorado, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, July 25, 2012.
I guess the leaders at the Merchants of Upper Market/Castro who illegitimately control the iconic rainbow flag at Harvey Milk Plaza didn't see the president's memo, or they did and decided to ignore it. Recall MUMC has an ironclad set of rules against modifying this important piece of public property. Castro businesses change what flies on the flagpole only when it means more profits during Leather Week and Bear Weekend, and our kink and bear families get to remove the rainbow flag and fly their colors.
At this time of national mourning and soul-searching after the carnage wrought in Colorado, the beautiful fabric that is the American family - young and old, people of all colors, straight folks, voters of all persuasions, the wealthy and the poor, rural and urban dwellers - are coming together by lowering flags to show respect and reflect upon the tragedy.
Except the LGBT community in the Castro, the country's most fabulous queer district that usually is a beacon of hope and love, and in the plaza named for gay martyr who you can be damn sure would lower the rainbow flag in his district at this time.
Shame on MUMC and the following individuals and an organization who tolerate their tyrannical stewardship of the rainbow flag on city property that excludes LGBT Americans from joining with our fellow citizens in Aurora, Colorado, through a simple flag lowering ordered by President Obama:
Scott Wiener, Ed Lee, Steve Kawa, Steve Adams, Terry Asten Bennett, Mark Leno, Tom Ammiano, Bevan Dufty, Mohammed Nuru, Patrick Batt, Richard Magery, Gilbert Baker, Cleve Jones, B.S. Nevius, Tom Taylor and the Harvey Milk Democratic Club.
The majority of these photos were snapped today to illustrate how San Franciscan public flag poles controlled by good and compassionate persons at public and cultural sites heeded the president's proclamation, regardless of being named in it, and turned their control box key and in less than five minutes lowered flags.
The final photo shows the shame of MUMC's abnormal decision to isolate LGBT Americans and our rainbow flag and public pole by keeping the Harvey Milk Plaza flag flying in it's normal fashion, paying no mind to our president's proclamation.
If you can look at these photos and say to me that MUMC is a responsible steward of Harvey Milk Plaza's flagpole, you need to stop smoking such strong weed.
City Hall Dome, Polk Street side
Mayor's Balcony, City Hall
Department of Public Health, right, Civic Center Plaza U.S. flag, left
City Hall entrance, Van Ness Avenue side
War Memorial Opera House
Davies Symphony Hall
The heart of LGBT America, Harvey Milk Plaza, Castro and Market Streets, with my young friend holding today's SF Examiner to fully document the failure of MUMC to lower the rainbow flag and extend our empathy to the community in Aurora, Colorado.