LA County will fly LGBTQ Progress Pride Flag for first time, starting in June

For the first time, the rainbow-colored LGBTQ flag will be raised over county buildings during Pride Month celebrations each June, according to an order approved Tuesday, March 7.

By a 5-0 vote, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors directed the Internal Services Department and the county Chief Executive Officer to change the county’s flag policy and begin flying the pride flag — wherever American and California flags fly — starting this June over libraries, fire stations, sheriff’s stations and county administrative facilities.

A new design, known as the LGBTQ Progress Pride Flag, created in 2018 by Daniel Quasar will be the version flown at county facilities.

The Progress Pride Flag is a modification on the six-colored rainbow flag by adding a chevron on the left side in the colors black, brown, light blue, pink, and white. Black and brown colors represent LGBTQ+ people of color, while pink, light blue and white represent the transgender community.

The directive came after the Huntington Beach City Council voted on Feb. 21 to no longer fly the pride flag on any city-owned property after it had flown the LGBTQ Pride flag at City Hall in 2021.

The LGBTQ Pride flag flies at City Hall on Tuesday, June 1, 2021. The Huntington Beach City Council voted to only permit flags representing the United States, California, Orange County, Huntington Beach and the U.S. armed forces to be flown on public property. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

In the county directive, the supervisors mentioned the Orange County beach city’s new policy allowing only city, state and national flags at its City Hall. It also said including the flag in June at county facilities is a counter-attack against hundreds of pieces of anti-LGBTQ legislation circulating in states and cities across the nation.

“I think it is important we do this at this time,” said Third District Supervisor and Board Chair Janice Hahn. “We are seeing an incredible trend of anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-transgender bills at alarming rates. Hopefully it will counter in a small way all the hate we are seeing across the country.

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“This flag will represent inclusion. To have that flag wave for all to see in Los Angeles County sends a message that L.A. County is a beacon of hope and that all are welcome here,” Hahn said.

Third District Supervisor and former West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey Horvath spoke strongly in favor of flying the flag over county facilities and co-authored the motion.

She mentioned a law passed in Tennessee lumping drag shows in a category of sexually explicit “adult entertainment” along with strippers and topless dancers, basically banning them from public venues. A drag show features men who impersonate women by lip syncing to recorded songs and telling jokes but do not typically involve nudity or stripping.

West Hollywood is a city with a large LGBTQ+ population and is home to commercial bars and clubs that host drag shows, often during weekend lunchtime.

“Outlawing drag brunch? Let’s be clear. The world is much improved with drag brunch,” Horvath said.

She said the pride flag flying for the first time at county buildings will send a message of support to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender county residents. “We must stand up for all our LGBTQ+ family. You have a right to exist, to love, and be supported. And to know you are not alone,” she added.

Horvath displayed a heart-shaped lapel pin with rainbow colors and a transgender flag symbol given to her by an LGBTQ group from the San Fernando Valley. “The pride flag is one of inclusion. The deliberate exclusion by cities in our own backyard is so disturbing.”

Last June, the city of San Fernando raised the LGBTQ Pride Flag at all city facilities and in the Downtown Mall. Pasadena raised the Pride flag at City Hall in June 2021 and again in 2022 and the city hosted its first-ever Pride Month celebration on June 25, 2022.

The city of Pasadena held its first Pride Month Celebration event in front of Pasadena City Hall on Saturday, June 25, 2022. It is flying the Pride Progress Flag for the second year. (Photo by Trevor Stamp, Contributing Photographer)

Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger wanted the Board in the near future to take a stand against anti-LGBTQ legislation. “I think it is important to use our voice and use our lobbyists in D.C.,” she said.

The flag raising was supported by Equality California, a group that supports LGBTQ+ civil rights, and LGBTQ centers.

“Raising of the pride flag exemplifies the fact that we are part of the fabric of Los Angeles County,” said Carlos Torres, executive director of the Long Beach LGBTQ Center. “It also sends a message that we are in a county where we belong and are visible.”

The first pride flag debuted in the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade in June 1978 at the behest of gay activist and SF County Supervisor Harvey Milk.

Related links

As Huntington Beach restricts pride flag, health foundation pulls event from city
Why Huntington Beach may no longer fly the pride flag on city property
As Tennessee, others target drag shows, many wonder: Why? | AP News
In a first for Pasadena, Pride Month celebration set for City Hall
San Fernando celebrates raising of the LGBTQ pride flag



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