City officials will raise the Pride Flag permanently at Jaycee Park in a ceremony on Tuesday, May 24 at 6:15 p.m. City commissioners approved the permanent display of the Pride Flag at Jaycee Park, located across from city hall on the corner of Wilton Drive and Northeast 21 Court, as a symbol of the LGBT community and the impact it has made on the city.
When first proposed last year, the idea garnered controversy. Some suggested raising the flag would cause division within the city and alienate some residents, both gay and straight. But as the idea was discussed further, public dissent at meetings dissipated.
But some new criticism over raising the flag has popped up – from inside the LGBT community.
Resident Michael Rajner said the flag should be a symbol of the entire LGBT community. By not adding gender confirmation surgery to its employee health care plan, Rajner said the T (transgender) in LGBT was not being fully honored.
“Will @WiltonManorsCty #Rainbow flag be symbol for entire #LGBT community?” wrote Rajner on Twitter on April 26. Commissioner Julie Carson brought the issue up for a vote at the April 26 meeting but no other commissioner supported it.
Commissioners who rejected Carson’s measure said they supported transgender rights but were worried about the cost – an additional $32,500 per year to the city and between $6 and $12 a month more paid by city employees in their premiums. Currently, employees pay between $82.38 and $151.75 for insurance from their bi-weekly paycheck.
The cost would be incurred even if no one used the benefits to go through the procedure. Commissioner Tom Green said he couldn’t support paying more for something that might not even be used by an employee.