Monday, September 17, 2012

MUMC Alters Flag Display;
Calendar Proposed for Milk Plaza

(The rainbow flag is not on display this week because it's Folsom Street Fair time. Credit: Bill Wilson.)

The inequality of who has access to the rainbow flag and pole on city property at Harvey Milk Plaza was blatantly on display yesterday. Despite supposed ironclad rules of never altering the flying of the rainbow flag except when a local LGBT icon has passed away, the Merchants of Upper Market Castro lowered that flag so the Leather Pride flag could wave in the wind.

I have no problem with the kink community continuing to enjoy this special right, but it's wrong of Mama's Family, the local group that stages the raising of the Leather Pride flag, to only have their self-interests at heart.

Unfortunately, Mama's Family remains silent about the almost two-year push to allow equal access to the flagpole for all segments of the LGBT community in San Francisco.

A calendar of yearly flag display modifications proposed by Vernonika Fimbres, Bill Wilson and myself was submitted to Terry Bennett, MUMC's president, last week both in person at her Cliff's Variety store and via email. Since MUMC keeps claiming they don't have enough time to consider the requests, seems logical to create a list of dates for regular changes in lowering the rainbow flag or flying another flag. Suggested dates are as follows:

February: Bear Weekend, raise the Bear Pride flag.

May 17: International Day Against Homo and Trans Phobia, lower the flag.

May:  Memorial Day, lower the flag.

September 11:  9-11 Remembrance Day, lower the flag.

September: Leather Week, raise the Leather Pride flag.

November 11:  Veterans’ Day, fly lowered U.S. flag.

November 20: Trans Day of Remembrance, raise the Trans Pride flag.

December 1: World AIDS Day, lower the flag.

We believe it's time for MUMC to not only develop and adopt such a calender, but to also create a mechanism allowing for flag lowering at the request of President Obama and finally hold public meetings about making a more equitable policy regarding community use of the flag and pole.

In February 2011, then-MUMC president Steve Adams had this to say to the Bay Area Reporter about crafting a resolution to this controversy:

"I am open to dialogue. There may be a compromise between the activists and MUMC. I am open to dialogue though. They may not get what they want, but I am open to talk about it. That is a democracy.”

Since then, MUMC has not held any public dialogues about this important piece of public property. Sure, it's great to hear talk about dialogue and democracy but it's another matter entirely to deliver those ingredients. Let's hope MUMC soon engages in democratic open forums about these issues.

1 comment:

Stephen R. Stapleton said...

May I suggest November 27th in honor of Harvey Milk, the anniversary of his assassination. It is Harvey Milk Plaza, after all.

Stephen R. Stapleton