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Gay West Hollywood councilman defends removal of Rainbow Pride Flag at City Hall

John Duran: 'We all know the city is UBER gay with 40% of our residents being LGBT. But 60% of our residents are not'

The rainbow flag donated by a local business owner no longer flies over the entrance of West Hollywood City Hall.

This has led to a debate about whether the California city, where 40% of the 34,000 residents are gay men, is moving away from its LGBT identity.

Openly gay councilman John Duran took to Facebook this week to try and quiet the critics.

The five-member council, four of whom are gay men, voted in November to leave it up to City Manager Paul Arevalo to choose which unofficial flags to fly at City Hall.

'There were zero complaints from anyone to motivate our decision,' writes Duran.

The vote was taken because other groups had inquired about flying their flags at City Hall during the appropriate months.

The flag had not flown over the building before but was put up in June and remained in celebration of landmark US Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage.

'We all know the city is UBER gay with 40% of our residents being LGBT,' Duran wrote. 'But 60% of our residents are not. So we crafted a reasonable policy that affirms our diversity and still allows multiple rainbows all year round. Gays and straights living together and sharing this wonderful city.'

The Pride flag will return to City Hall in June during Pride Month and other flags will fly on occasion such as the transgender flag in November and the veterans POW flag at Memorial Day.

The flag that had been flying at City Hall between the US and California flags was donated to the city by Larry Block, owner of the Block Party clothing store.

Block, who said 'tears rolled down my face when the rainbow flag waved above City Hall,' is now asking for the flag back.

'Taking the rainbow flag down is one more way West Hollywood is shedding some of it’s LGBT identity,' Block wrote in a letter to the council.

Block added that the city manager, who is straight, 'may not have the sensitivity to the struggles of the LGBT community.'

Duran feels like there is plenty of highly-visible Rainbow Pride representation around the city.

He points out to a permanent display of flags on Santa Monica Blvd at Westknoll, Westbourne, Palm and La Peer that fly 365 days a year and permanent rainbow crosswalks at San Vicente and Santa Monica.

The rainbow logo is also on the Sheriff cars that patrol the city.

Writes Duran: 'Those rainbow flags all present themselves in West Hollywood permanently.'

Comment on a news story


@ Brooks Austin: There is a 377 mile (606.723 km) difference in location between San Francisco in Northern California and West Hollywood in Southern California.

The use of rainbow flags has a long tradition; they are displayed in many cultures around the world as a sign of diversity and inclusiveness, of hope and of yearning. Rainbow Flags are a graphic representation of the idea of "E pluribus unum" one unified community formed from many peoples. As such, the Rainbow Flag includes the heterosexual of West Hollywood.

Another suggestion for how the rainbow "Gay Pride" flag (1978 - Present) originated is that at college campuses during the 1960s, some people demonstrated for world peace by carrying a Flag of the Races (also called the Flag of the Human Race) with five horizontal stripes (from top to bottom they were red, black, brown, yellow, and white). Gilbert Baker is said to have gotten the idea for the rainbow flag from this flag in borrowing it from the Hippie movement of that time.