MUMC: We will fly the Transgender Flag on Transgender Day of Remembrance, November 20th

After receiving over 1000 signatures on her petition to have MUMC fly the Transgender Flag at Harvey Milk Plaza for Transgender Day of Remembrance, Veronika Fimbres has received approval from MUMC to fly the flag on November 20th. MUMC will also be organizing a committee to reassess their flag policy after the first of the year.

According to Fimbres, an anonymous benefactor is paying for the Castro’s first Transgender Flag which will measure 20′ by 30′.

From Terry Bennett, President of the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro

The Board of the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro has thoughtfully and thoroughly considered the desire of the Transgender Community to have the Transgender Flag flown on November 20, 2012 in recognition of the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The request we originally received was to fly the Transgender Flag in a lowered position. Due to real and serious safety concerns, the request was denied on the basis of the lowered position request. Although, as of today we have not received a revised request, we continued the conversation to consider flying the Transgender Flag at full height. This has been a difficult conversation and emotions run very high in both directions on the issue.

Gilbert Baker, the originator of the Rainbow Flag, created the flag pole with the intent of an oversized 20ft by 30ft Rainbow Flag that would be flown 365 days a year at full mast as a sign of unity and hope for the entire LGBT community. At some point after this, a decision was made to fly the Leather Flag in the week leading up to Folsom Street Fair. In 2001, the originator of the rainbow flag was no longer able to care for the flag, and our beautiful symbol of hope and unity was flying torn and tattered on the flag pole. It was at this time that MUMC stepped forward and offered to be stewards of the flag. The city with Gilbert Baker’s blessing granted MUMC the stewardship. The leaders of MUMC over the last 11 years have worked diligently to make sure we have a beautiful, bright, vibrant flag flying over our community. MUMC has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over this period of time, to insure and maintain the flag pole. In order to keep a bright, colorful flag flying, the flag must be changed out approximately every two months. We have worked to create a partnership with the Castro Street Faire organizers who use some of the gate donations every year to buy 3 to 4 replacement flags. A couple of years ago, when the Bear community was looking at celebrating their last Bear Rendezvous weekend a decision was made to fly the Bear Flag as a way of marking the end of an era. As it turned out the Bear Community revived the Bear Rendezvous in an abbreviated capacity, and as things go you do it once it becomes tradition, it has flown President’s Day weekend the last couple of years. Over the last two years the MUMC Board has been overwhelmed with requests to alter or change the flag. These requests have regularly been accompanied by a great deal of personal attacks, blatant bullying and harassment. Due to these attacks it has made it very difficult to consider any requests. After the first of the year, MUMC will organize a committee to reassess our policy.

During this process of consideration I have consulted with and looked for guidance from several people in the community. I would personally like to thank Supervisor Scott Wiener, Daniel Redman and Don Romesburg for their respectful, heartfelt and open dialogs with me. These respectful dialogs have made it possible for the MUMC Board to make the decision to fly the Transgender Flag on November 20th in recognition of Transgender Day of Remembrance. It will be the responsibility of the Transgender community to provide a 20ft by 30ft Transgender Flag that will fly at full mast on Tuesday, November 20, 2012. We would ask that the community coordinate the flying of the flag with a commemoration that can bring the much needed focus, recognition and pride to the transgender community.

Respectfully Yours,

Terry Asten Bennett – MUMC President,

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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11 Responses

  1. Max says:

    I think it's great that they changed their minds and I congratulate them for not being bigots. It would be even better if they didn't lie about why they rejected the proposal. NO WHERE in their reject letter did they ever mention that it was safety concern or that the applicant could reapply with an alter proposal. As even the Terry has had to admit they have flown the flag at half-mast in the past and they have flown other flags. The reality is that the community is paying for the flag and it will cost nothing for them to do this.

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    • MPetrelis says:

      They forgot to also thank Veronika. Oh, but they thank Wiener, who for two years has done all he could to stop even discussing community control of the public flag and pole. MUMC is still not to be trusted and the larger transparency issues are not going away anytime soon.

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  2. Michael Petrelis says:

    Gay and trans advocates who've been demanding transparency for two-years from the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro regarding control of the Milk Plaza rainbow flag, are holding a news conference tomorrow. It will be at the store owned by MUMC president Terry Bennett.

    What: Press Conference

    Date: Tuesday, October 16

    When: 4 PM

    Where: Cliff's Variety Store, on the public sidewalk

    Location: 479 Castro Street

    The speakers include Veronika Fimbres, trans leader who forced MUMC to raise the Trans Pride flag on Day of Remembrance, Bill Wilson who will address MUMC's longstanding hostility to public engagement and opacity, and myself. I will address why my boyfriend will boycott Cliff's Variety Store until public meetings are held by MUMC in the Castro.

    For more info, please contact me at 415-621-6267, or via email: [email protected]. The following letter, which has not received a response, will be read at the presser:

    Proposed Annual Calendar of Rainbow Flag Modifications

    (Hand-delivered on September 13, 2012, to Terry Bennett at Cliff’s Variety.)

    Dear Merchants of Upper Market Castro:

    We must begin a public dialogue about regular dates when the public’s rainbow flag display at Harvey Milk Plaza is modified, while also developing policies to respond quickly to President Obama’s proclamations for flag lowerings. Here is a calendar of suggested yearly modifications:

    February: Bear Weekend, raise the Bear Pride flag.

    May 17: International Day Against Homo and Trans Phobia, lower the flag.

    May: Memorial Day, lower the flag.

    September 11: 9-11 Remembrance Day, lower the flag.

    September: Leather Week, raise the Leather Pride flag.

    November 11: Veterans’ Day, fly lowered U.S. flag.

    November 20: Trans Day of Remembrance, raise the Trans Pride flag.

    December 1: World AIDS Day, lower the flag.

    We also are requesting a meeting with the board of MUMC, to discuss this calendar and other ways to end the impasse and divisiveness over the flag, eventually coordinating together to make responsible and community-wide use of our flag.

    A response is requested by the end of business on Friday, September 14. Thanks.

    Best regards,

    Veronika Fimbres, Michael Petrelis and Bill Wilson

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  3. MPetrelis says:

    How rotten that Theresa Sparks of the Human Rights Commission held a closed door meeting today with MUMC and Wiener, and created a deal that satisfies MUMC and Wiener. There will be no community meetings in November and December, because MUMC and Wiener will be busy on passing anti nudity legislation.

    Also, all MUMC says is they will organize a committee after Jan 1 to look at their policies. Nothing about a committee open to all. This deal, except for the part to raise the trans flag on Nov 20, stinks all around.

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  4. MPetrelis says:

    Gay and trans advocates who've been demanding transparency for two-years from the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro regarding control of the Milk Plaza rainbow flag, are holding a news conference tomorrow. It will be at the store owned by MUMC president Terry Bennett.

    What: Press Conference

    Date: Tuesday, October 16

    When: 4 PM

    Where: Cliff's Variety Store, on the public sidewalk

    Location: 479 Castro Street

    The speakers include Veronika Fimbres, trans leader who forced MUMC to raise the Trans Pride flag on Day of Remembrance, Bill Wilson who will address MUMC's longstanding hostility to public engagement and opacity, and myself. I will address why my boyfriend will boycott Cliff's Variety Store until public meetings are held by MUMC in the Castro.

    For more info, please contact me at 415-621-6267.

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  5. Waiyde says:

    These are an excellent question FS and worth asking them in person or via email-I'd be interested to see how they respond.

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  1. October 18, 2012

    [...] November 20th. However, even their acceptance letter leaves a bad taste in my mouth, as they state “This has been a difficult conversation and emotions run very high in both directions on the … and I have to ask – why? Why is it so divisive to fly this flag when others have been [...]

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  2. October 25, 2012

    [...] Day of Remembrance is November 20, btw, and it sounds like the Castro folks have worked out their issues and will fly the Trans Pride flag on that day. This entry was posted on Friday, October 26th, [...]

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  3. November 22, 2012

    [...] and emotions run very high in both directions on the issue,” Bennett said in a statement announcing the decision to fly the flag. “Over the last two years the MUMC Board has been overwhelmed with requests to alter or [...]

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  4. November 23, 2012

    [...] and emotions run very high in both directions on the issue,” Bennett said in a statement announcing the decision to fly the flag. “Over the last two years the MUMC Board has been overwhelmed with requests to [...]

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. March 8, 2013

    [...] November 20th. However, even their acceptance letter leaves a bad taste in my mouth, as they state “This has been a difficult conversation and emotions run very high in both directions on the … and I have to ask – why? Why is it so divisive to fly this flag when others have been [...]

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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