UPDATED: MUMC will fly the flag!
I recently reported the following on another blog I write for about the neighborhood I live in, SF’s Castro district.
The iconic flag pole at Market and Castro in Harvey Milk Plaza that flies the rainbow Pride flag, the Bear Flag and the Leather Pride flag is administered by our local business association, the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro. It is a private membership organization that holds it’s monthly meetings in private.
In early September, a local, black, trans, HIV-positive woman named Veronika Fimbres submitted written and verbal requests to the MUMC to fly the Transgender Pride flag for Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th.
TDOR is a day to honor and pay respect to all of the transgender victims of violence, harassment and prejudice around the world. The MUMC responded to her request on Monday in writing saying,
“The MUMC Board has thoroughly reviewed, discussed and considered the request, and we appreciate your patience while that was done. The request is not approved and there will be no change in the Rainbow Flag display on November 20.”
The full email correspondence between Veronika and the MUMC is at the end of this post and was signed by Cliff’s Variety Store owner Terry Bennett, President of the MUMC.
The MUMC stated they do not make exceptions to the rainbow Pride Flag, however, in the past, they have made exceptions for Bear 2.0 flying the Bear Pride Flag and also for the Leather Pride flag during Folsom Week events.
If we can make room for these flags, we can surely make room for our transgender brothers and sisters on our flag pole. They have been a vocal supporter of the GLBT community dating back before the Stonewall days as “street queens” in New York, yet are still victims of murder, trans bashing and harassment.
I encourage all of you to sign the petition that Veronika has put together so that it can be taken to MUMC and presented as evidence that the broader community, the same community that erected that flag pole as a beacon of equality, does support raising the Transgender Pride flag for Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Ms. Veronika Fimbres,
Thank you again for contacting MUMC with a request regarding the Rainbow Flag maintained by MUMC at Harvey Milk Plaza, Castro at Market Streets in San Francisco. Our previous email correspondence is copied below.
The MUMC Board has thoroughly reviewed, discussed and considered the request, and we appreciate your patience while that was done.
The request is not approved and there will be no change in the Rainbow Flag display on November 20.
We again urge you to review MUMC’s publicly-posted Rainbow Flag policy on MUMC’s website – the direct link is http://castromerchants.com/
castro-merchants-flag-policyWe especially call your attention to the Policy’s 4th and 5th paragraphs. They strictly limit replacement or modified displays of the Rainbow Flag. The display you request does not fall within the established policy.
We also have recently reviewed the Rainbow Flag policy regarding flag display at lowered or half-mast. We have determined that to do so would jeopardize public safety for pedestrians and passing vehicles, due in part to nearby overhead electric and other utility and transit service wires and to other conditions at the site. We are preparing and soon will publish at the website page, a clarification of MUMC’s published Rainbow Flag policy on this issue.
Nothing in this response to your request should be interpreted as any disrespect for the Transgender Flag, the November 20 Transgender Day of Remembrance, or similar issues. We hope that consistently administering MUMC’s Rainbow Flag policy, in fact, re-enforces the strength, pride and unity of all parts of our community.
MUMC’s Rainbow Flag policy and this decision in no way prevent any group from gathering at Harvey Milk Plaza (subject to City and County of San Francisco and any other applicable rules and regulations) for commemorations and other purposes.
Please also note that we have allowed you to attend the past two monthly MUMC Member Meetings (September 6 and October 4), although you did not make advance arrangements to do so, and your attending did not conform with our policies.
MUMC is a private business and merchants organization. MUMC Meetings are private and open only to current Members and other pre-arranged guests. Our policy regarding Meeting attendance always is published with each monthly Meeting Agenda on the home page of MUMC’s website at www.CastroMerchants.com.
Please note also that issues regarding the Rainbow Flag generally are handled by MUMC’s Board, not at Member Meetings.
We respectfully ask that you do not attend future private MUMC Meetings (unless requested and mutually agreed in advance), and that you and colleagues follow and respect our attendance policy published with Agendas.
We wish you and your colleagues the very best for the Transgender Day of Remembrance, and thank you for understanding, respecting and supporting MUMC’s Rainbow Flag and other policies.
Terry Asten Bennett, President
Merchants of Upper Market & Castro – MUMC
584 Castro Street #333; San Francisco CA 94114-2512
Date: Sat, 08 Sep 2012 09:11:58 -0700To: “Veronika Fimbres” <email@example.com>From: MUMC-SF <firstname.lastname@example.org>Subject: MUMC Rainbow Flag request – re Transgender FlagBcc: TerryAsten@cs.comMs. FimbresThanks for contacting MUMC on September 7.Your request regarding use of the Rainbow Flag Pole at Harvey Milk Plaza will be considered by MUMC’s Board as soon as possible. Please note that this may take several days, as those volunteer Board Members have busy schedules. MUMC will respond as soon as we can.Meanwhile, and if you have not already done so, please review MUMC’s published Policy regarding the Rainbow Flag and requests such as yours, posted on MUMC’s website at http://castromerchants.com/
castro-merchants-flag-policyRichard Magary, MUMC AdministratorMUMC-SF@earthlink.net9/8/2012 9:10pdtAt 04:09 PM 9/7/2012, Veronika Fimbres wrote:
I wish to be put on your next agenda to discuss the flag lowering and placement of the Transgender Flag on the Transgender Day of Rememberance on November 20, 2012
This email has been sent on behalf of the [[OrgName]].