Park City, noting nearby rainbow flag controversy, proclaims Pride Month
The Park City Council on Thursday declared June as Pride Month, indicating it fits well with City Hall’s social equity efforts and acknowledging the proclamation was at least partially inspired by a recent controversy in Heber City regarding the flying of rainbow flags.
Mayor Andy Beerman and the City Council did not spend extensive time discussing a one-page resolution that declared Pride Month two-thirds of the way through June. The City Council cast a unanimous vote.
The mayor said Park City is a tolerant community as he spoke in favor of Pride Month in the community. At least two members of the City Council — Becca Gerber and Lynn Ware Peek — mentioned the rainbow flags in Heber City in their comments prior to the vote.
Gerber said the flags in Heber City are inspiring and said Park City’s declaration of Pride Month is an “immediate” step in City Hall’s broad social equity efforts, which are designed to ensure Park City is a welcoming community to a wide range of people. She said Park City could adopt a similar measure earlier next year. Ware Peek, meanwhile, expressed gratitude toward the city in Wasatch County.
“Thanks to Heber,” Ware Peek said.
The resolution approved on Thursday was presented to the elected officials during Pride Month nationally and shortly after the annual Utah Pride Festival in Salt Lake City. The resolution notes the history of Utah Pride, dating to 1974, and says it has grown into an event that attracts crowds topping 50,000. It also says Park City welcomes people of the LGBTQ+ community and “their friends and family members, and straight allies who show their support.”
The resolution, meanwhile, says “Park City has a dedicated history of creating and supporting policies and programs that stand against discrimination and promote equality and opportunity for all members of the LGBTQ+ community.”
It is not clear whether the Pride Month in Park City will be marked in any greater fashion in the final days of June as a result of the resolution that was adopted by the elected officials on Thursday. It has not appeared the month has been widely commemorated in Park City.
The mayor and City Council received testimony in support of the resolution from Karen Hammerman, a Park Meadows resident who is a volunteer for a suicide-prevention hotline called the Trevor Project designed for teens and young adults who are members of the LGBTQ+ community. She said in an interview afterward she appreciated the resolution “because all young people need to know that their community is a safe place to live.”
In a statement submitted to The Park Record, Hammerman said the suicide rate for teen members of the LGBTQ+ community is four times higher than the general population of teens. The suicide rate is even higher — eight times the general population of teens — for teens who come from families who reject them based on their sexual or gender identity, according to Hammerman.
“By declaring June as Pride Month, our LGBTQ+ youth know that our Park City community is an accepting and affirming place for them. It can be so important for our youth to feel safe in their communities because some of them do not always feel that way in their homes,” Hammerman said in the statement.
The statement also explained her interest in testifying on Thursday.
“So I wanted to thank the Council for voting to make Park City a safe space and welcoming community for all LGBTQ+ individuals. Our LGBTQ+ youth, teens and young adults are paying attention to the messages they receive from their communities. And having them feel validated and respected is a gift we can give them that might just save someone’s life,” Hammerman said in the statement.
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Park City has published the annual community guide to the Sundance Film Festival, an online booklet jammed with information about navigating Park City during what is normally the busiest stretch of the year.