In 1978, an openly gay man named Gilbert Baker designed a Rainbow Flag that represents a symbol of pride for the gay community. It has been said that Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States of America, urged Baker to design the flag. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Plus community has been discriminated against for decades, and know first hand how discrimination looks and feels.
Imagine being called vulgar names, thrown out of your home, physically assaulted or murdered based on personal characteristics about yourself that you have no control over. All over the world, people who are born as their most authentic selves are made to feel ashamed and rejected for their existence. Nobody should have to ever experience any of those things. Everyone deserves to feel safe, accepted and, most of all, loved.
People that are born into the LGBTQ+ community are four to six times more likely to attempt suicide than the average youth. LGBTQ+ youth are more likely to struggle with substance abuse and other high risk behaviors. The reason why these frightening statistics exsist is because often times, LGBTQ+ youth struggle to cope with the discrimination they are subjected to.
In an effort to support the LGBTQ+ community on a path to a stable mental health and resiliency a new movement is taking place, local level jurisdictions are hanging the LGBTQ+ Rainbow Pride Flags from City Halls to show they celebrate, embrace and demonstrate acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community.
June 28, 1969 is an important date for the LGBTQ+ community. On that day, the Stonewall Rebellion took place in Greenwich Village in New York City. The Stonewall Rebellion is an event that is widely known as the catalyst for the LGBTQ+ liberation movement. Today LGBTQ+ Pride events are held all over the world on or around June 28 to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. Last year for the first time in the city’s history, the City of Hollister decided to raise the LGBTQ+ Rainbow Pride Flag for one day on June 28, 2020 in front of City Hall.
This year, the City of Hollister decided to raise the LGBTQ+ Rainbow Flag for the entire month of June to celebrate June as LGBTQ+ Pride month. By raising the LGBTQ+ Rainbow Flag, the City of Hollister shows the entire community they not only embrace the LGBTQ+ community, but that this community is loved, safe and accepted.
This year for the first time ever, San Benito County, San Juan Bautista, Gilroy and Salinas are all raising the LGBTQ+ Rainbow Flags or adopting proclamations to declare June as LGBTQ+ Pride month. Raising an LGBTQ+ Rainbow Flag is one act we can do to help end discrimination of the LGBTQ+ community. The raising of this flag will help to shape a better future for future LGBTQ+ community members.
This flag represents love and acceptance. If we sincerely want to leave behind a better world for future generations, we can help accomplish that by raising big bright beautiful LGBTQ+ Rainbow Flags from our communities all across the world.
Rolan Resendiz is Vice Mayor of the City of Hollister. He wrote this column for the Hollister Free Lance.