By Matthew Rodriguez
Pasadena Weekly Deputy Editor
In honor of Pride Month and for the first time in Pasadena, the Pride Flag will fly over the steps of City Hall alongside the state and city flag.
“Pasadena is a city of people that are accepting, that are embracing, that are nurturing and that are very much inclusive of people from every walk of life,” said Mayor Victor Gordo.
“We’re all one community. We’re all one people. And we are going to be inclusive supportive and helpful to all people in our community.”
Every June, millions of people across the globe come together to celebrate and support the LGBTQ+ community.
“Let it be known that LGBTQ+ folks have made and continue to make positive and long-lasting contributions to society by advancing areas of inclusion, diversity, equity and respect,” said Camila Camaleon, board president of the San Gabriel Valley LGBTQ Center. She is also the first transgender woman of color to serve in this position.
Pride Month commemorates the Stonewall Riots which happened over 50 years ago after police raided a gay club named the Stonewall Inn located in Greenwich Village in New York City. Gay bars such as Stonewall served as refuges for the LGBTQ community free of public harassment.
In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, police violently harassed and arrested patrons and bartenders in the club after claiming the bar was operating with an improper liquor license. This would be the third raid of gay bars in Greenwich Village. In response, bystanders began to jeer and even throw bottles at police, sparking six days of protests.
Since Stonewall, many LGBTQ support groups have emerged throughout the country, spreading the message of inclusion and diversity.
“We must ensure that everyone feels safe, seen, heard and are treated with dignity, care and respect regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity so that they can live their happiest, healthiest and most authentic lives,” said Christian Port, board vice president of the San Gabriel Valley LGBTQ Center.
Councilmember John Kennedy pushed the idea of raising the Pride Flag to show solidarity with the LGBTQ community especially after the annual regional pride parades were postponed or canceled due to COVID-19.
“Pasadena is a city of wonder, diversity and purpose and today the city of Pasadena has added to its reputation as a welcoming city by advancing LGBTQ rights,” said Kennedy. “It was my honor to recommend to the mayor and the city council to raise for the first time the Pride Flag at city hall.”
“The city of Pasadena has taken another step forward toward love, life [and] equality for all,” he added. “May the raising of the Pride Flag today serve as a source of inspiration for all.”
Huntington Hospital will also fly the Pride Flag and six other cities in the San Gabriel Valley will honor Pride Month in various ways.
The Pride Flag has evolved from simply being a rainbow-colored flag. The new 11-stripe flag designed by Daniel Quasar includes a five-colored chevron representing the transgender and communities of color. Dubbed the Progress Pride Flag, Quasar aimed to emphasize inclusion and progression while honoring the transgender women of color who were instrumental in the Stonewall Riots.
“When Quasar released his design he said publicly, ‘We still have forward movement to make,’” said Port. “There is still work to be done. Today marks a new day in this work signified by this symbol of love and hope — this symbol of resistance to hate and inequality.”