Trans Flag on Day of Remembrance
(The Transgender Flag Will Fly in San Diego on November 20th!! from SCĒN on Vimeo.)
Jess Colyer is a trans activist in Southern California and today she sent me this message:
The San Diego LGBT community will honor those killed in the face of hate and bigotry for being who they are by flying a giant Transgender Pride flag on the newly erected flag pole located in Hillcrest at the corner of University Ave and Normal St. The flag will fly at half mast and will be taken down and replaced with the traditional Pride Flag after the vigil and march that evening. The Transgender Day of Remembrance is a global vigil that is held on November 20th every year and helps to raise awareness to transgender issues around the world.
Jess and I spoke on the phone and she explained the basics of this came about. The flag pole is on public property and was built with contributions from many members of the community. The Hillcrest Business Association spearheaded the effort, which was conducted via regular public meetings open to all, and the association is responsible for administering the flag and pole.
(San Diego's rainbow flag.)
In August, trans people went to an HBA meeting with a request to lower the rainbow flag on November 20 and then raise the Trans Pride flag. Since there were no rules in place, HBA and trans people at public meetings created acceptable rules for all members of the community and soon it was agreed to use the flags and pole to honor trans people murdered in the past year and show solidarity with our trans friends and family.
Compare that cooperation, transparency and commitment to respectful engagement from the Hillcrest merchants with the continuing problems presented by the Merchants of Upper Market Castro.
For two-years MUMC has refused to allow public attendance and discussion at their meetings, their flag rules were developed behind closed doors, they've rejected proclamations from President Obama and local LGBT advocates to lower the Harvey Milk Plaza flag, calls for community control of the flag are dismissed, and this week MUMC told a respected trans leader, Veronika Fimbres, to scram and not attend their invitation only meetings while rejecting her request to do what San Diego is doing - simply raising a Trans Pride flag.
If you support Veronika Fimbres' request to MUMC to fly the Trans Pride flag on November 20 at Harvey Milk Plaza, then give MUMC president Terry Bennett a call at her Cliff's Variety Store: 415-431-5365. You can also email her: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be respectful to her, and firmly request that the trans community of San Francisco have equal access to the Milk Plaza flag pole, just like the leather and bear communities. The Castro is no place for this sort of blatant anti-trans policy.
Finally, a huge thanks to Jess Colyer and her trans colleagues for their advocacy on their Day of Remembrance activities. Plus, an even bigger thank you to the Hillcrest Business Association leaders, who are shining example of how gay and gay-friendly merchants should work collaboratively and openly with activists for the betterment of our local neighborhoods and community wellness.