The Rainbow Flag will fly permanently at Stonewall Monument in NYC

Gilbert Baker, Rainbow Flag creator at 2012 San Francisco Pride festival
Gilbert Baker, Rainbow Flag creator at 2012 San Francisco Pride festival

The Rainbow Flag, the international symbol of LGBT liberation and pride, will be unveiled in a special ceremony in New York City at the historic Stonewall National Monument next week. Thanks to the efforts of LGBT history activists, it will claim a permanent home.

This event marks the first time that the LGBT flag will wave over federally-funded land, under the permanent stewardship of the National Park Service. The dedication will happen on Wednesday, October 11 at 12 Noon at the Stonewall National Monument. It is is located in Christopher Street Park in New York’s Greenwich Village at the corner of Christopher Street and 7th Avenue South.

Stonewall Inn in New York City.
Stonewall Inn in New York City.

The event will be emceed by Gay-USA television co-host Ann Northrop. Performers will include Telly Leung, who plays the title role in Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway and Cantor Steve Zeidenberg of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah. Speakers will include Leslie Cagan, an organizer of the 1987 March on Washington for LGBT Rights, National Park Service’s Chief of Interpretation, Education and Visitor Services Barbara Applebaum, Kiara St. James, Executive Director of New York Transgender Advocacy Group, and LGBT and AIDS activist Michael Petrelis who spearheaded this initiative.

“It is a victory for our community to have these symbolic colors flying majestically over our Stonewall, designated as a National Monument by President Obama, even as our LGBTQ brothers and sisters are under attack by the current regime in power,” said Petrelis. He went on to say, “As we gather today, we are reminded of another October 11, thirty years ago, when the names of fallen comrades were symbollically celebrated on another national monument — the AIDS Quilt — during the reign of another President who waged and attack against us.”

October 11 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the historic 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian Gay Rights. The NAMES Project AIDS Quilt was unfurled on the National Mall on that day. The date also marks the annual National Coming Out Day, a day celebrating the idea that all members of the LGBT community should be able to live their lives openly, honestly, and with pride.

The LGBT Rainbow flag, was originally designed by the artist and activist Gilbert Baker.  It consists of six stripes: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. The flag is typically flown horizontally, with the red stripe on top, as would appear in a natural rainbow.

Support for the ceremony is being generously provided by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS helps men, women and children across the country and across the street receive lifesaving medications, health care, nutritious meals, counseling and emergency financial assistance.

The flags designer, Gilbert Baker, died in New York City on March 31 at the age of 65. Memorials to the internationally known activist were held across the globe in subsequent weeks. The Stonewall Inn was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.