The former mayor of Duluth, Minnesota, has posed for his official portrait wearing the pink triangle to signal his support for the city’s LGBT community.
Herb Bergson left office four and a half years ago and the portrait has only been hung now because Bergson refused to have any public money spent on it.
‘The reason it took so long is, I refused to use taxpayers’ money for self-gratification,’ Bergson told the Duluth News Tribune on Sunday.
‘The city was hurting for several years.’
The portrait was instead paid for by donations from friends and by Bergson himself.
Instead of hiring a painter, which would have cost more money, Bergson had a photograph taken of him and then digitally altered to look like a painting.
Bergson had stipulated to the City of Duluth that he be allowed to wear the pink triangle in his portrait to show his support for LGBT Minnesotans.
Bergson, a former police officer, was the first mayor of Duluth to proclaim a Gay Pride Week and is the only mayor of Duluth to serve two terms.
‘I always felt strongly about the pink triangle,’ Bergson told the Duluth News Tribune, ‘I wore it to many public events when I was mayor.’
‘For years, gays were not welcome in Duluth, and now they are.’
The portrait will be unveiled at Duluth City Hall on Thursday at 4pm in its first floor gallery.
Minnesota is a state which has traditionally been slow to embrace LGBT rights and the state is currently considering a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. However its current state governor is supportive on the issue and is campaigning against the effort.