Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

City Hall Pride flag-raising honors Orlando victims

The rainbow flag was raised at San Francisco City Hall Friday, then lowered to half-staff to honor the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.

(Mayor Ed Lee prepares to raise the rainbow flag Friday at City Hall. Photo: Bill Wilson)

(Mayor Ed Lee prepares to raise the rainbow flag Friday at City Hall. Photo: Bill Wilson)

Forty-nine people, mostly gay Latino men, were killed early Sunday at the gay Orlando nightclub. Another 53 people were injured.

Mayor Ed Lee, in remarks to a crowd of LGBT leaders, city officials, and others, said that the flag would remain at half-staff for the remainder of Friday (June 17) “in honor of our brothers and sisters in Orlando.” The rainbow flag-raising has been a tradition that kicks off Pride Week.

Lee said the significance of the rainbow flag at City Hall is “also a point of celebration.”

San Francisco’s LGBT Pride festivities take place next weekend, culminating with the parade and festival Sunday, June 26. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend.

The mayor said that he wants to make sure that “everybody who comes here – their lives can be celebrated for who they are.”

LGBT city officials had mixed emotions at the event – sadness at the Orlando tragedy coupled with resolve of celebrating the progress that the community has made. Lee remarked that it was just about a year ago that people in the city were jubilant after the U.S. Supreme Court released its decision legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

“In this particular time, with the terrible events involving our community, Pride is more important that ever,” gay city Treasurer Jose Cisneros told the Bay Area Reporter. “We’re strong, visible, and proud.”

— Cynthia Laird, June 17, 2016 @ 12:26 pm PST
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