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West Hollywood City Hall Removes Rainbow LGBT Flag

A rainbow flag that has been proudly waving on top of West Hollywood's City Hall since June 2013 has been removed following a unanimous vote by West Hollywood city council members.

According to the Los Angeles Times:

Councilman John Duran said the city is shared by gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and heterosexual people and that the flag’s hanging above City Hall was inappropriate, even if the city was founded largely on gay rights.

West Hollywood “belongs to all of us,” Duran said at one meeting. “It’s not just a city of gay men. It belongs to heterosexual people as well, and City Hall belongs to everybody in this community, gay or straight, and let’s not ever give the impression that City Hall has become exclusive to only one part of the West Hollywood community.”

The move has been met with criticism by some. Larry Block, the West Hollywood resident and business owner that proposed that the rainbow flag be raised this past June, tells the LA Times:

“The shedding of the LGBT identity is happening slowly,” said Block, a city council candidate for the 2015 election. “It’s going with development, straight business owners… There’s just a changing environment in West Hollywood.”

After the flag was raised last summer, people came into Block’s clothing store on Santa Monica Boulevard to hug him, he said.

“West Hollywood is a beacon of hope for gays and lesbians throughout the world,” he said. “When tourists come into town, they’re so proud of the fact that we’re that special place for the LGBT community. … The rainbow flag is an inclusive symbol, not exclusive.”

According to city officials, West Hollywood will continue to permanently fly rainbow flags in the medians at Santa Monica Boulevard between Robertson and La Cienega boulevards. 

And, of course, WeHo still has its snazzy rainbow crosswalks. 

Still, what do you think of the City Hall move, Instincters? What message does the rainbow flag's removal send?

 

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Comments

In ALL the 20 years I have known John Duran, I have NEVER got a sense of his turning his back on and/or abandoning the gay community. Today certainly

isn't an exception in regards to the flag. Before we all synchronize our torch lighting as the towns people in a Frankenstein movie, I would ask that you review

John's dedication in the gay community's memoirs carefully and see how intertwined and deep those passions run. I don't know much about politics,but I do know 

John. John's whole career has been hinged on the welfare of the  gay community and you wouldn't have to go very far to find someone that has been on the receiving

end of that advocacy. KNOWING John,I would place my last bet on the intention he had by rotating the flags was simply" inclusivity". THATS IT. THATS ALL. With

someone's background like John Duran's coupled with my OWN personal reflection in retrospect of how he has helped myself and MANY others (and before you think it,

No,I have NEVER slept with John). I simply cannot sit back and watch people mud-sling and try to belittle him and his deserving position he's worked HARD  and

many years to be in his position politically and yes he IS a politician .but sell out. NEVER!  Before you start accusing John of catering to hetero's  and big money, ask yourself;

what does the entities accusing him of this have to gain? What is their agenda? Where does John live? answer:West Hollywood!  In conclusion, what I have read concerning 

undeserving comments about John's character...excuse my frankness...some of you would be well deserving of a individual capable of such. Fortunately for you all ,John isn't that person.

Dear Mr. Duran,

So without blowing smoke up my butt and quoting a useless array of figures, but instead being honest and forthright tell me why did you as a gay man vote to take this action?  What is the message that you see it saying to the community by having it removed?  

As I see it you have become very self-serving to the majority in order to further your political career and only managed to alleniate many of the the people who have gotten you where you are today. Shame on you, Mr. Duran.  Sadly I don't see anything honorable about you anymore, I will certainly not be voting for you (as I have done in the past), and I hope that this is the end of your career in politics.  And when you no longer are holding a public office take a moment to re-assess your over inflated ego.

I encourage everyone who has posted.  DO NOT VOTE FOR PUBLIC OFFICERS WHO DO NOT TRULY REFLECT OUR COMMUNITY NEEDS.  Use your vote to JUST SAY NO to these political social climbers.

It's not a 'gay' flag - it's a Pride flag

One more time in my opinion John Duran is lecturing me as a resident on what is right?  I personally find your comments to be condescending and not reflective of many in the gay community.  I'm so glad myself and other activist were able to get term limits passed in #weho so we can have a healthier democracy and have rotation of leadership. Since you and the other long term council members have selfishly hung on to your council  seats at all costs of integrity and blocked others from the chance to serve. You have alienated me as a constituent and 20 year resident at this point.  Your approach to great hall right now in  leading the charge to have it demo'd against the states historic register staff is full of disrespect to the community and the state officials.  Many wonder who gains to profit from that land somewhere down the road?  Or if your leading the demo because of your hard feelings about Protect Plummer Park and Term Limits.  If you are, then your pulling a Chris Christie in my book.  Public Property shouldn't be used as a tool for political revenge,!  I'm glad Jean Doberman laid it out to you at council!

Why even rethink the flag? Love John Duran but it seems like people have way too much time on their hands at City Hall. The flag is beautiful and so what if the city's demographic is 40 percent LGBT, the city still is known for being a safe haven for the community. 

SAFE HAVEN!!! 

Much like Little Tokyo, Chinatown, the Ethiopian district, Historic Filipinotown, Thai Town: I'm sure their demographic isn't a majority of what the district is called but honestly why would it matter? 

Very sad

West Hollywood is 40% LGBT.  While we have 4 gay councilmembers out of 5, the majority of our residents are not LGBT people.  But to make it clear, no straight people complained about the rainbow flag over city hall.  For 29 years, we have flown the flags over city hall that unite us:  The US Flag, the CA flag and the City of West Hollywood flag.  In 2001, I was the councilmember who sponsored the permanent display of rainbow flags on Santa Monica Blvd at 4 sites alongside the US Flag where the flags fly 365 days per year.  I was also the council member who co-sponsored the rainbow crosswalks and supported adding the rainbow flag to our Sheriff's cars.  NO other city in Southern CA flies the rainbow flags 365 days a year.  It is nice to think that Gil Baker's rainbow flag design that he created in the 70's is a symbol for all.  But reality check.  Rainbow flags are a symbol for gay pride and understood world wide to be that.  West Hollywood remains a beacon for LGBT people not because of our flag display.  But because of the work we have done.  The first city to create a domestic partnership registry in 1985, to demand marriage equality, where ACT UP LA was founded, where there is such a concentration of gay culture that you are presumed to be gay if you live here.  But we didn't do it alone.  We did it with straight allies who have also vigorously fought for gay rights with us including the many heterosexual members of council like Abbe Land, Lindsay Horvath, Helen Albert, Babette Lang, Sal Guariello and Alan Viterbi.  And we did it without flying a gay flag over city hall all these years.  There is no shortage of symbolism or substance for LGBT people in West Hollywood.  Culture wars are noisy.  LA County just voted to add a Christian cross to the county seal advocating for and in defense of the Catholic culture of Los Angeles.  That was wrong.  Because that Christian symbol is an affront to other parts of LA culture although the cross on the Missions is historically accurate.  When the LGBT community holds political power with 4 out of 5 council seats, we will be evaluated on how we both used that power and practiced restraint to protect equality for all.  

Except that the rainbow flag represents all people and not just gays or any particular group: that's why it's a rainbow #FAIL

Amen!  The rainbow flag represents diversity and different kinds of people living together in harmony.  I can see why some people might find that offensive. *rolls eyes*

nnooooo!!!.....!!!!  That flag is for DIVERSITY - not just homosexuality.... PLEASE WEST HOLLYWOOD, A LAND I CALLED HOME, LET THAT FLAG FLY

Please write to the following people or show up at  jan 20th at the city council meeting and give a public comment.   city manager parevalo@weho.org, council memembers:  jduran@weho.org, jdamico@weho.org, jprang@weho.org, aland@weho.org, jheilman@weho.org.

Thank you all so much -- 

If it were "safe" to be gay in every city, town, nook, and cranny in the ENTIRE world, that's one thing -- but until then, there needs to be at least one city (and preferably many more) where the rainbow flag flies proudly, even from government buildlings. Any way you slice it, flags are always SYMBOLIC of the values of the local area (case in point, the controversy over the use of the Confederate flag in the south). If putting the rainbow flag up in West Hollywood expresses the official, administrative value of supporting gay pride, then, conversely, taking it down expresses the value of suppressing gay pride. This is about MONEY, and "selling out to the straights" now that gay money, gay people, and gay blood/sweat/tears have made West Hollywood "desirable", the straights come in, take over, and then need to be "accommodated" by not having their breeder little sensibilities "offended" within city limits. They don't like a rainbow flag? Fine; move to some city where the stupid "Chrisitan fish" flies on every billboard, business card, invoice, and Yellow Pages ad (we've all seen that). Just exactly what "message" is City Hall trying to send by taking down the flag? If that action were words, what would they say? That action devalues the principles of inclusion and gay-affirmative sentiment that the City of West Hollywood was founded on, not all that long ago, if people will just remember. What's next? Digging up the memorial plaques on the trees honoring people who died of AIDS and replacing them with "sponsored by Breeder Breeder, Inc."? To every straight real estate agent who is "comforted" and "relieved" by the removal of the rainbow flag so that their straight pre-approved-mortgage clients are not "offended" by the sight of it can FUCK OFF. We were here first, and we're not going away anytime soon. Having the flag fly on the official government building is a visual symbol that asserts that West Hollywood will remain one of the safest cities for gay thriving in America, as a matter of policy and priority. Anyone who is offended by the flag can live somewhere else. Those of who own property here, own businesses here, and have made this their spiritual or literal home for decades (like me) will welcome ONLY those straight people who are 100% behind us, without ANY accommodation to their sensitive little homophobic sensibilities that "get nervous" or "have concerns" at the sight of a friggin' rainbow flag. I'd vote for allowing public fellatio between men on the sidewalks, if only to prove that we are the ONLY city in America where we could do it without someone throwing a wooden cross out of their car windows at us doing it. There are countless places in America where gays are made to feel unwelcome and we have to suck it up to live and just survive in a climate hostile to the entire LGBT population. West Hollywood has not been, is not, and should

This is disgusting.  It's a symbol of West Hollywood's history.  This is just us, once again, taking care of breeders who want to discriminate and hate....If I moved into a Jewish neighborhood I wouldn't demand they take away any symbols of the Holocaust.  Shame John Duran.

Seriously? You're going to use the term 'breeders' after all of the name calling the LGBT community has experienced you're going to go and behave the same way? THAT is disgusting.

Until the US Flag flying over City Hall is a symbol of inclusion, the rainbow flag should stay as a symbol of a community that embraces LGBT, all Californians and even those in the US that would have us shipped off and never be heard from again. 

I have to agree with John Duran on this one.  I can understand outcry from the community if the flag was flown since the city's incorporation in 1984.  But the flag was raised in June of 2013, in what I'm assuming was for celebration for the fall of prop 8 and the ruling on DOMA.  Which to me shows a city embracing it's majority and saying, "congratulations, let this city celebrate with you."  Let's embrace that wonderful sentiment and be grateful we all have a city which truly celebrates and cares for all its citizens.  Gay and straight.  And let's not forget our straight brothers and sisters who have fought, marched and cried a long side us.  

I agree, the rainbow flag is inclusive. It was never a symbol of lgbt rights, it has always been a symbol of equal rights for all. No matter the color of our love, culture, race, religion, gender, we all come from the same light. That is why it has been so embraced by the lgbt community to celebrate diversity and banish exclusion. Not the way this john Duran puts it. Should fight to reinstate the flag

As a 5 year gay resident in West Hollywood, the removal of the flag over city hall only confirms the regression the neighborhood is taking and it pisses me off.  To me the pride flag signifies our neighborhood as a safe place to be ourselves and relish in who we are.  I am totally sick of seeing these straight couples who shuffle their mini-skirts and 8 inch pumps into the clubs with their boy candy on their arm.  They have the Sunset Strip just two blocks up so go there.  West Hollywood is all we have.  We have city officials coming into our neighborhood slapping fines, changing policies and closing clubs for 30 days and it is all about keeping the gays controlled.  I say we need to control those same straight couples who bring their infant in a stroller at 1am in the morning out on the boulevard or to the West Hollywood Halloween Carnival or complain when they pass a club and see a gogo dancer and then make a big stink about morality.  Enough.  West Hollywood is THE gay neighborhood for us to be proud of and it is a shame that the city council and Duran have bowed to the majority and the almighty dollar.  Disgraceful action and I fear only the beginning.

I'm not sure if you're old enough to remember this, but people used to tell us to go away and that we weren't welcome in bars and even public areas. I was beaten by the NYPD for being trans in public just about 30 years ago. So it's tremendously short-sighted and literally a perfect illustration of irony that you're being exclusionary toward straight people, who constitute a population majority in the very city you have briefly lived in. It makes no sense that they would leave their own city to do regular activities. People who have their children in public at 1am and that "make a big stink about morality" either don't exist or exist in such a small number as to affect nothing. If you want to be angry, that's fine, but be logical and channel your frustration into action. Queers used to be really good at that. Now I guess we post comments on the Instinct website.

John Duran sucks. I am at a loss for a sentence that is intelligent. John was paid to take that down. I think it is time to remove John Duran from West Hollywood because we don't want people to think we are being stingy with the gay pro tem's in any of the largely straight neighborhood's of LA.

I agree.  There are more people that live there than gay people. It is an American city in the United States.  Take the damn flag off of the city hall. I am gay so please do not call me a homophobe.

There are actually NOT more straight than gay people.

how about an equal rights flag 

This is NOT progress it is REGRESSION!!! Put the flag back up!!! We've come too far to lose ground now!!!!

In what way is it regression? The flying of a flag at city hall (full time) is something I have not seen offered to any other group, I don't see why we, as gay people, should demand special rights.

There is nothing regressive about being afforded the same rights as everyone else, and being treated like everyone else. There are real issues out there, focus on one of those.

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