On the surface, it's minimally laudable that Mayor Ed Lee has raised the rainbow flag on the pole off his balcony at San Francisco's City Hall, but we need to dig deep and ask pointed questions about this LGBT pride display. A tip o' the hat to Jose Ricardo G. Bondoc and the SF NewsFeed Facebook page.
Since August, when Russia's draconian anti-gay propaganda law went into effect and members of Gays Without Borders and Boycott4Russia staged a Stoli vodka dump under the mayor's office and called on him to denounce the law and rise in violence against queer Russians, our mayor has steadfastly refused to come out and plainly deplore the law and suffering.
Raised LGBT flag over #SF City Hall as #Olympics are set to begin to support equal rights for all athletes. pic.twitter.com/dr4A82aLQa
— Edwin Lee (@mayoredlee) February 7, 2014
Mayor Lee oh-so-quietly on Friday, without a single gay elected official or leader of Gay Inc or member of the blogosphere or traditional media or grassroots activist, forget about a presser or release, started flying the rainbow stripes on his official flagpole. If you're going to do a damn thing as the mayor America's Gayest City as the Olympics begin in a homo-hating country, as dozens of LGBT people are arrested, be sure to organize and publicize it properly or please don't bother.
I must ask again why San Francisco's mayor, of all the mayor's in the United States, failed to also raise an Olympics flag with the rainbow flag and issue a press release stating support for gay athletes _and_ showing solidarity with LGBT Russians. You can be sure that if he did the right thing and staged a simple ceremony on his balcony and invited the gay-stocracy, asked those pesky people known as the general public to also attend, it would have generated news and web attention that would be of tremendous benefit to our Russian brothers and sisters.
Too much trouble for our Mayor Lee. However, let's look to our neighbors to the North, specifically to Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre and what he did on Friday. This a retweet on his official Twitter account:
Mayor @DenisCoderre adds color to #MTL City Hall during #WinterOlympics #LGBT #polMTL #rainbowsforSochi pic.twitter.com/lZMkd5LJCW
— Sabrina Williams (@sabri_wi) February 7, 2014
Merci et bravo, mon ami Denis Coderre, pour l'gay solidarite! Please note that the first tweet shows no actual living and breathing gay people, the second photo is full of LGBTs and allies! Says much about what is wrong with SF's approach compared to Montreal's genuine engagement.
Sure would have been great if the mayor of this podunk town had been in touch with his counterpart in Montreal and see how to do a rainbow flag raising at City Hall related to the Olympics can be done including standing with gay jocks _and_ criticizing Russia's homo-hate. It's not too late for Mayor Lee to do the right thing in San Francisco, but that would require him to also be ready to answer questions about why gay activists can't raise an Olympic flag under the rainbow flag at Harvey Milk Plaza.
My gut says that because of the three-year controversy over the rainbow flag and pole on City property at that homo-historic public space, our mayor is too chicken to do anything with a rainbow flag on City grounds with great fanfare because the plaza flag issues would come up.
What other reason could San Francisco's mayor have for so meekly displaying the rainbow stripes off the People's Building?
I'd like to see Mayor Lee learn from Mayor Coderra and before the Olympics are over, stage a much more worthy and appropriate event and deplore Russia's homo-hatred. Check out this video the Montreal Global news service. This is how a straight mayor who cares about LGBT Russians behaves: