Waving hello to start of 2023 Pride Month
The 2023 Park City Pride annual flag-raising event brought colorful crowds as members of the community gathered at Miner’s Hospital to support the launch of this year’s Pride Month. The sun shown bright, tulips bloomed vibrantly red and everyone was cheerful — of course, the coffee and donuts provided by the LGBTQ+ Taskforce didn’t hurt.
Starting at 9 a.m., the event ran until 10 a.m. as event leaders facilitated “a mini state of the queer union.” Mayor Nann Worel, Equality Utah’s Managing Director Mindy Young, and Summit County Vice Chair Malena Stevens each showed their support for Park City Pride. In her remarks, Mayor Worel encouraged those gathered: “Together, we can give this community what they need most — the opportunity to be seen, heard, and, maybe most importantly, to feel supported.”
The flag was raised at 9:30 a.m. as the crowd clapped and cheered, followed by photos and mingling.
The Pride flag was first created in 1978 by artist, designer, Vietnam War veteran and then-drag performer Gilbert Baker, who was commissioned by Harvey Milk, another gay icon and politician. Baker’s design used different colors of the rainbow, symbolically reflecting the individual and collective beauty of the LGBTQ+ community. Each color represents a different value: Hot pink represents sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow signifying sunlight, green for nature, turquoise to represent art, indigo for harmony, and finally, violet for spirit. The flag was first showcased in San Francisco’s Gay Freedom Day Parade on June 25, 1978.
Since then, various versions of the flag have been created. The Gilbert Baker flag was later simplified from eight colors to a traditional rainbow, with six colors, making the Rainbow Pride flag commonly known today. In 2017, black and brown stripes were added to represent the unique challenges faced by people of color in the LGBTQ+ community, creating Philadelphia’s People of Color Inclusive Flag. The Transgender flag is another popular flag, marked by pink, blue and white stripes.
Today, the “Progress” Pride Flag, the one raised in Park City on Thursday, is the flag most commonly used during Pride Month, a design which combines stripes from all three flags.
Pride Month has been historically celebrated in June in commemoration of the Stonewall Riots and was nationally recognized during the Clinton administration in 1999. It was finally instated in Park City on June 20, 2019. The Park City Council’s unanimous decision to formally recognize Pride Month was “a step that aligns with City Hall’s overall social equity efforts and the city’s long history of left-leaning politics,” The Park Record reported.
Since that decree, Park City Pride has worked with the Park City Municipal to form the LGBTQ+ Taskforce, a group dedicated to addressing the needs of the community.
“We must continue to work to build the type of equitable city where barriers don’t exist for the next generation of LGBTQ+ leaders,” Worel said in her remarks Thursday morning.
And the Taskforce is on it: “Whether through social events, local advocacy, or charitable programs, we collaborate to create, maintain, and enliven inclusivity for the LBGTQ+ community, in order to help the Wasatch Back become a place where all people feel they belong,” its website declares.
This year’s pride activities will continue some traditions from previous years. Along with Thursday’s flag raising event, Park City Pride will host its Living Library opportunity at Park City Library on June 17, as well as the free Pride Picnic at City Park on June 25. Like last year, the picnic will feature music, lawn games, and booths from local organizations.
The group also plans to march in the city’s Fourth of July Parade to wrap up the month’s festivities. You can sign up to join the march on its website.
The current agreement between Sundance and City Hall covers the festivals through 2026 after starting with the 2014 edition. There are automatic renewals annually starting in 2027 unless either of the sides provides a two-year written notice by March 1 of any year. Sundance has requested the March 1 deadline in 2024 be pushed back to Oct. 1 of that year.
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