Update: Commissioner Tom Green responded to SFGN’s interview request after the article was published online.
“I have no opposition to [the Transgender Flag] but I was under the impression that the Rainbow Flag was inclusive [of transgender individuals]. It bothers me that transgenders are not included in this [Pride] Flag, according to some people,” said Green. He added that he supports flying other flags for special occasions but not permanently, and that he hopes the city doesn’t reach a point where every group has a flag flying. “Are we going to have a bisexual flag?”
In response to the Trump administration’s recent actions regarding the transgender community, activist and transgender ally Michael Rajner asked commissioners to fly the Transgender Flag as a show of support.
“I think it’s time this city stand behind the transgender community by raising the flag,” said Rajner at last night’s commission meeting. After he was done speaking, Rajner presented a Transgender Flag, provided by To The Moon owner Antonio Dumas, to the city and laid it across the dais.
Rajner made his request because of the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the Obama administration’s guidelines that advised public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. The Trump administration stated that bathroom guidelines should be left up to each individual state.
Commissioner Julie Carson said flying the Transgender Flag would be good for the community and said it would be similar to the commission’s decision to fly the Pride Flag at Jaycee Park.
“I think it would be a wonderful thing to do. Flying the Transgender Flag along with the Rainbow Flag would help to unify our community and demonstrate we are diverse and accepting of all, including the transgender community,” Carson said. Asked if she would want to fly the Transgender Flag under the Pride Flag, Carson said “that would be a real appropriate place for it.
In October of 2015, the commission voted unanimously to fly the Pride Flag permanently at Jaycee Park.
Assistant City Manager Pamela Landi said city staff members could decide to fly the Transgender Flag on their own but will “seek direction” just like they did with the Pride Flag. Carson said she may propose flying the Transgender Flag at the next commission meeting on March 14.
Vice Mayor Justin Flippen said he’s open to considering Rajner’s request and he’s supportive of ways the city can reaffirm its support for the transgender community to make sure the “T [in LGBT] is not left out.”
But Mayor Gary Resnick and Commissioner Scott Newton think the Pride Flag is already a symbol of inclusiveness and support that includes the transgender community. “It represents everybody. Everybody who supports equality. That can be straight people who support equal rights. I think [the Pride Flag] more represents an idea [than a group]. I don’t see the need to fly more flags,” Resnick said.
Newton said flying the Transgender Flag could encourage all sorts of groups to want their own flag flown. “Where do you stop?” Asked how flying the Transgender Flag would be a different precedent than flying the Pride Flag, Newton said flying the Pride Flag was an acknowledgement of “what the gay community has done in this city” similar to naming a street after a resident who has contributed to the city.