MUMC denies request to fly Trans flag for Trans Day of Remembrance

UPDATED: MUMC will fly the flag!

In early September, local black, transgender, HIV-positive, senior and military veteran Veronika Fimbres submitted written and verbal requests to the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro to fly the Transgender Pride flag at Harvey Milk Plaza for Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th. TDOR is a day to honor and pay respect to all of the transgender victims of violence, harassment and prejudice around the world. The MUMC responded to her request on Monday in writing saying,

“The MUMC Board has thoroughly reviewed, discussed and considered the request, and we appreciate your patience while that was done. The request is not approved and there will be no change in the Rainbow Flag display on November 20.”

The letter was signed by Cliff’s Variety Store owner Terry Bennett, President of the MUMC.

The MUMC controls what flags and at what position the flags fly (half-mast, etc). Check out their official policy statement for the Rainbow Flag and Flag Pole.

The Castro Biscuit has made a formal inquiry to the MUMC for details on why the request was denied. We have not heard back from the MUMC yet. We have also asked Supervisor Scott Wiener if he has any comment regarding the situation.

Veronika has setup a petition to garner support for raising the flag for TDOR.

Meanwhile, San Diego’s well known gay neighborhood of Hillcrest has decided the flag is worthy to fly on their newly erected pride flag pole for TDOR (thanks to reader Jess for the scoop!):

via Petrelis Files

Roy McKenzie

Roy has been a Castro resident since 2010 and is passionate about politics, camping, and food. Follow his babbling on Twitter.

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19 Responses

  1. MPetrelis says:

    I love your site and recent coverage of our nudist friends, and folks standing up to that dick Scott Wiener. Many thanks for trying to get answers out of MUMC and Terry Bennett. Best of luck with the site and forcing Bennett to engage with you. She's notoriously fickle about who she interacts with and she and MUMC should not be in charge of the flag. It's public property and if they can fly the leather flag and the bear flag, MUMC can damn well fly the trans flag.

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    • Roy says:

      Thanks Michael! I hope to find out more from the MUMC. I have also emailed Veronika to get some more information on her request. Thanks so much for reading and for bringing this to my attention!!

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  2. Gina says:

    As a trans woman, I find this completely disgraceful!! It feels like just another example of what many in this so-called LGBT community feel about the 'T'. The Day Of Remembrance is some not some kind of celebratory event.
    We are mourning those MURDERED because of hate and misunderstanding of the trans community. Shame on you, MUMC!

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    • MPetrelis says:

      In February MUMC raised the Bear Flag for three days. In September, they raised the Leather Flag for two whole weeks. In October they told the trans community to drop dead.

      Let's be absolutely queer and clear about this: MUMC has rules that render the trans flag invisible and that is wrong.

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  3. HILLCREST CALIFORNIA: The San Diego LGBT community will honor those killed in the face of hate and bigotry for being who they are by flying a giant Transgender Pride flag on the newly erected flag pole located in Hillcrest at the corner of University Ave and Normal St. The flag will fly at half mast and will be taken down and replaced with the traditional Pride Flag after the vigil and march that evening. The Transgender Day of Remembrance is a global vigil that is held on November 20th every year and helps to raise awareness to transgender issues around the world.

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  4. My name is Blue Montana, and i'm a trans activist from San Diego where we will be flying a huge 12×18 transgender flag at half staff on november 20th for trans day of remembrance. I cannot tell you how disappointed and saddened i was to read that you denied a request to fly the trans flag at Harvey Milk Plaza. After reading your rules and regs, I fail to see how you came to the decision not to accomodate the request. San Diego is the first in the nation to have Harvey Milk Street. Now we are the first in the nation to publicly fly a trans flag to honor those killed due to transphobia, and also to raise awareness of trans individuals and the sad need for trans day of remembrance. Im sure the next rain we have will be the tears of Harvey Milk at your decision to not fly this flag. I hope you truly, truly reconsider the request to fly the transgender flag at Harvey Milk Plaza…after all, thats what Harvey would want, and its simply the right thing to do.

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    • MPetrelis says:

      To Blue and all trans people, and the incredible Hillcrest Biz Association that puts MUMC to _shame_, thank you so much for showing us how to honor our trans dead and show solidarity with the simple lowering of a rainbow flag, then raising of the trans colors!! You all rock.

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  5. putergurl says:

    Can't say I'm terribly surprised, coming from the city in the USA that most epitomizes GLB folk and their organizations.

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  6. Waiyde says:

    For those who are displeased with this decision as we here at the Castro Biscuit please sign the petition.

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  7. Ramón says:

    When organizations such MUMC make such exclusionary decisions I can't help but notice how historically short-minded we can be.

    I vividly recall the turmoil of the sixties and I also remember the Trans people who put themselves in the line of danger to stand up for what they understood was OUR rights that were being trampled.

    Sylvia Rivera herself gloomily told me that she couldn't sink any lower so she was going to fight back. She also told me that when the dust settled, Trans people would be pushed aside: MUMC, through its action is making a prophet out of her and others who fought the good fight and galvanized a generation.

    I'll never set foot again in Cliff's until MUMC comes to its senses.

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  8. Kyle Maxwell-Berman says:

    I’m incredibly saddened by this, I’ve come to realize that the Castro’s politics align a little too closely with national Integrationist politic. They need to check their white, cisgender male privilege and understand that a community divided, has no legs to stand on. I’m shocked that other flags have been flown in the Castro, however those flags alignment with cisgender privilege makes it all the more depressing and is a slap in the face of the trans community. I myself do not identify as transgender, but as a cisgender gay man who is really upset with the community that I thought was different, for the better! I have one thing to say to the MUMC, How Dare You!

    On a sepate note, I really appreciate the coverage brough by this site, didn’t hear about it until the flag story, but will continue to read and be informed. Thank you

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    • Roy says:

      Thanks a lot Kyle! Glad to have informed you regarding this issue. We will continue to follow the story so stay tuned. Thanks for reading!

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  9. PeterV says:

    How is it that MUMC has control of the flag? They did not pay for the plaza or the pole, did they? Do they pay for the flag and its maintenance? Is that all that's required to control the flag? What if another group decided that it wanted to pay for the flag and its maintenance?

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  10. Buster says:

    I've been a property owner and resident in this neighborhood for thirty years, and I have to say I'm really sick and tired of this MUMC calling all the shots for the community and the neighborhood. How is it that this group of local business people were put in charge of our flagpole, and in charge of making the Castro as straight and bland and -yes- TACKY as possible? I seriously think it's about time for a picket line in front of Cliffs. I don't care how much money they expect to make off of Halloween. Prejudicial acts by any business must be answered in kind.

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  11. wendy mogg says:

    The petition does not seem to be currently active. If it’s time to appeal the decision, can someone be in touch with the petition organizer and ask her to reactivate it?

    I am a local business owner who bristles when MUMC is referred to as “THE local businesses”. They are but one organization, and do not speak for all of us.

    As for the Flag, I have heard MUMC grouse about what a burden it is to manage. I imagine they would welcome another group taking over the management of it. There is work and money involved in the maintenance, of course. I believe they inherited the role when whomever was managing it previously was unable to continue, and have sort of cobbled together a set of guidelines along the way.

    This may be a great moment for a community group dedicated to the Flag management to be formed.

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    • Waiyde Palmer says:

      The petition isn’t active as this was relevant last year. If you read follow up posts you’d see MUMC has decided that only the LGBT Pride Flag will fly from now on and they won’t entertain any other petitions. They seem quite content to keep control of the flag and surrounding property.

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