The rainbow flag is down at West Hollywood City Hall, and Larry Block wants it back.
The city removed the flag, a prominent LGBT symbol, yesterday. It was raised on City Hall in June after Larry Block, owner of the Block Party clothing store and a candidate in the 2015 council race, made a public appeal at a council meeting. Block said then that “…the rainbow flag on our City Hall … says to every gay, lesbian and transgender kid, ‘You’re welcome here’.” Forty percent of the city’s 34,000 residents are gay men.
But in November, the Council, four of whose five members are gay men, voted to give City Manager Paul Arevalo discretion in choosing which unofficial flags can fly at City Hall. A city ordinance requires that the U.S. and California flags be flown.
Arevalo can decide on flying other unofficial flags at City Hall for special occasions and to fly the U.S. flag at half mast in recognition of a tragedy or someone’s death.
Block donated the flag that has been flying at City Hall. In a letter to Arevalo that he shared with WEHOville, he asked that it be returned it the city will not use it again.
“… if your intent is to continue to use it again then I’m honored. If not, may I get it back?,” he wrote. “Tears rolled down my face when the rainbow flag waved above city hall…… it’s too hard to explain to a straight guy (Arevalo is heterosexual) who may not have the sensitivity to the struggles of the LGBT community. Taking the rainbow flag down is one more way West Hollywood is shedding some of it’s LGBT identity.”
The city’s Public Information Office issued a statement saying: “At its November 18, 2013 meeting, the City Council voted unanimously to affirm the practice of displaying only the official flags of the United States, the State of California, and the City of West Hollywood on public facilities and to fly the flags at half-mast in recognition of a tragedy or someone’s death. The decision also affirmed the policy of displaying unofficial flags on public property and public facilities for special occasions such as the month of November for Transgender Awareness Month and June for Gay Pride month. However, the rainbow flags will continue to fly permanently on flagpoles in the medians along Santa Monica Boulevard between Robertson and La Cienega Boulevards.”
I have met and am good friends with some AMAZING people who happen to be gay. But it’s not BECAUSE they are gay that they are amazing. It’s because they are them. So. I don’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings…. but it’s not important for me to know that someone is gay or that there is a “i like my own sex” movement. It actually offends me that people are defined by the fact that they have sexual feelings for their own gender rather than other real basic things. Just like if I was defined by the fact that I’m… Read more »
The only reason why these things happen, is because we allow them to. Shame on us even if people think its not something worth debating. To you it was just a flag but to me it was a symbol of hope. Hope that i would be able to find a home and find a family in this community. what this tells me now is that my search for a family is pretty much done because ill be looking for a new place to live and maybe there i can find what i was looking for. thank you people of west… Read more »
I cannot believe people are getting this worked up over a flag. #weirdpriorities
EVERYONE is accepted in West Hollywood and that is what our city is all about. Our Rainbow Crosswalks are a wonderful symbol for our LGBT community and each member of our City Council, regardless of political ideology has worked tireless in their efforts toward Equality. Only one person has ever made an issue of the Rainbow Flag hanging above City Hall and now it is being misused as a tool for petty political attacks, cheap publicity and unfair slander. Rainbows abound everywhere in West Hollywood and always will. I am a very proud gay man and Wehoan and respect all… Read more »
Now explain to me why we need a city manage, who doesn’t live in the city btw, who probably makes a small fortune, to decide what flags get flown when? Why even have a city council if they simply shuttle all the decision to the city manager? I guess it just makes it easier for developers to know which bribe goes to which person. DISGUSTING. Period. Like it or not WeHo was founded AS A GAY CITY! It was never absorbed by BH or LA because “too many of those people lived there.” NOW that it’s yet another “million dollar… Read more »
The rainbow flag does not exclude anybody.. its an inclusive flag that symbolizes our diversity, acceptance, and tolerance. Being gay is not a religious symbol.. Being gay is non -ethnic– being gay crosses across the all types of people… The argument that it does not belong because it expresses one point of view.. YES>.the struggle for equal rights! Should be celebrated and honored.
I am not gay, but I support my gay friends and neighbors and love seeing the rainbow flags on Santa Monica Blvd.. But, Larry, don’t assume “Haters” called anybody. With our current administration in City Hall, anything could have happened. As for the Rainbow Flag flying at City Hall, I am torn. It is a government building. I agree with Marco Colantonio in that we need to recognize all cultures, not just the gay culture. For that reason, I don’t believe the Rainbow flag should fly at City Hall on a daily basis. It should definitely be during Pride Week… Read more »
Sad. I think that the next to go should be the WEHO flag because this is no longer the City I chose, for all it stood for in 1988, to call my own. Straight Senior Citizen.
A disgrace. This city fails more and more each day. THAT FLAG MUST GO BACK!!! Do we picket the homes of our (mostly gay) council members for the error that their straight carpet-bagging lackey did? Set dates and I’ll be there!
City Hall is a public facility– why couldn’t the public facility commission be included and allow for public input? Why put it up to take it down? Lets face it.. the haters called city hall and they got their way.
It might initially seem mean spirited, but it’s a tough call as the rainbow flag is not the flag of West Hollywood. I loved seeing it wave above City Hall and respect Larry’s passion, but we need to be a fair city, recognizing all cultures and walks of life. Fortunately we have our rainbow crosswalks and hopefully the city manager will deem fit to regularly hang/rotate flags representing the many diverse cultures in our community. The rainbow flag should definitely hang above city hall during Pride and I am sure it will.
EVERY gay and lesbian person in the city (and their friends) should WITHDRAW ALL campaign DONATIONS to every city councilperson until the flag is back in its proper place. If they don’t want to support “the gays”, fine, we won’t support them. And we might stage a sit-in at City Hall while we’re at it. And leave stink bombs behind when we leave. That’ll learn ya.