Los Angeles City Hall flies Progress Pride Flag to celebrate LGBTQ+ community

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Los Angeles officials raised the Progress Pride Flag outside of Los Angeles City Hall on Thursday, June 6, marking the first time in the city’s nearly 243-year history that a flag celebrating the LGBTQ+ community has flown at a municipal building.

City Councilmember Tim McOsker, who led the effort to fly pride flags on the city’s buildings, said during the flag-raising ceremony that it was important for the city to state that “L.A. is for everyone.”

“We want to make sure that everyone feels comfortable, everyone feels seen, everyone feels embraced,” he said.

  • Los Angeles City Councilmember Tim McOsker speaks during a ceremony to raise the Progress Pride Flag outside Los Angeles City Hall on Thursday, June 6, 2024. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • L.A. Mayor Karen Bass speaks during a ceremony to raise the Progress Pride Flag outside Los Angeles City Hall on Thursday, June 6, 2024. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Progress Pride Flag is raised outside Los Angeles City Hall on Thursday, June 6, 2024. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Progress Pride Flag flies outside Los Angeles City Hall on Thursday, June 6, 2024. A ceremony was held marking the first time the Progress Pride Flag was raised at city hall. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • People cheer during a ceremony to raise the Progress Pride Flag outside Los Angeles City Hall on Thursday, June 6, 2024. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • People take photos during a ceremony to raise the Progress Pride Flag outside Los Angeles City Hall on Thursday, June 6, 2024. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • LAFD Chief Deputy Orin Saunders and Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department Dominic Choi during a ceremony to raise the Progress Pride Flag outside Los Angeles City Hall on Thursday, June 6, 2024. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Progress Pride Flag flies outside Los Angeles City Hall on Thursday, June 6, 2024. A ceremony was held marking the first time the Progress Pride Flag was raised at city hall. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    While the overall mood of the ceremony was celebratory, Mayor Karen Bass, who spoke after McOsker, also used the moment to criticize those who have not shown support for the LGBTQ+ community.

    “We are a city that is inclusive, and we will reject the attacks that are happening on the LGBTQ community,” Bass said. “Now I’m sad to say that even in our region, some of the surrounding cities, some of the surrounding counties have gotten that virus of backwardness … of rejection and attack. But that’s extra reason why it is important that we raise this flag today.”

    Although Bass did not identify any city or county by name, other speakers on Thursday mentioned the city of Downey, where the city council voted 3-2 last month to adopt a neutral flag policy, which in effect prohibits the city from flying a pride flag on any of its buildings.

    That controversial decision prompted L.A. County officials, led by county Supervisor Janice Hahn, to host a flag-raising ceremony outside the L.A. County Office of Education – which is located in Downey – earlier this week.

    The raising of the Progressive Pride Flag outside L.A. City Hall came nearly a week after the City Council passed an ordinance allowing the city to display pride flags during June Pride Month at its civic center, which includes City Hall, and other municipal facilities throughout the city.

    McOsker introduced the motion to update the city’s flag policy. The councilmember for Council District 15 represents residents in San Pedro and the Harbor area.

    He’s spoken publicly about how his daughter and her wife left the city of L.A. because they did not feel San Pedro was particularly welcoming to them at the time. McOsker said that prompted him to become an ally of the LGBTQ+ community. In 2018, a local group organized to have a pride flag flown in San Pedro – the first time that had happened in that community.

    Since then, McOsker said, his daughter and her wife have returned to the area. McOsker’s daughter could not attend Thursday’s flag-raising ceremony at City Hall because of work, but his daughter-in-law was there.

    Los Angeles is the latest municipality to display pride flags. In recent years, cities including Pasadena, San Fernando and Redondo Beach have taken similar actions.

    At the same time, some municipalities have reversed course.

    The Redlands City Council in San Bernardino County voted last year to stop displaying the pride flag after flying one the year before.

    And in Orange County, Huntington Beach city officials decided last year to stop displaying the pride flag after flying one at its city hall in 2021. This past March, more than 58% of voters in Huntington Beach approved a ban on nongovernmental flags, including those for Pride Month, being flown on city property.

    The Temecula School District in Riverside County has also banned pride flags.

    The first pride flag debuted at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade in June 1978. Then-San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person elected to public office in California, had encouraged artist Gilbert Baker to design the flag to symbolize the value and dignity of the gay community.

    In more recent years, municipalities including the city of L.A. have opted to fly the Progress Pride Flag, which was created in 2018 by graphic designer Daniel Quasar. It retains the six-stripe rainbow design of the original pride flag, but adds black, brown, light blue, pink and white stripes in a chevron pattern to symbolize other marginalized people, including the Black and Indigenous communities and other people of color, as well as people who have died from or are currently living with HIV/AIDS.

    In addition to flying the Progress Pride Flag, the city of L.A. plans to light up City Hall from Friday through Sunday, June 7-9, in recognition of LGBT Heritage Month.

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    About the Author
    Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.

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