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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 6, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 40
Rainbow flag to be dedicated on Wednesday, October 11, at Stonewall National Monument on Manhattan's Christopher Street
Section One
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Rainbow flag to be dedicated on Wednesday, October 11, at Stonewall National Monument on Manhattan's Christopher Street

New York ceremony marks first time that the international LGBT symbol will be displayed permanently on federal land

NEW YORK - The Rainbow Flag, the international symbol of LGBT liberation and pride, will be unveiled in a special ceremony on Wednesday, October 11, at 12 noon at the historic Stonewall National Monument, where, thanks to the efforts of activists, it will claim a permanent home.

This historic 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 Stonewall National Monument is located in Christopher Street Park in New York's Greenwich Village. The park is on the corner of Christopher Street and 7th Avenue South.

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; the 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 symbolically celebrated on another national monument - the AIDS Quilt - during the reign of another president who waged an attack against us.'

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

The flag, which was originally designed by the late artist and activist Gilbert Baker, 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 life-saving medications, health care, nutritious meals, counseling, and emergency financial assistance (broadwaycares.org).

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.

Courtesy of Michael Petrelis

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