In collaboration with Queens Pride, the office of Queens Borough President Donovan Richards raised the Progress Pride Flag in front of Queens Borough Hall on June 15 to commemorate of Pride Month.
“The Progress #Pride Flag represents true inclusion and visibility, values we hold dear in #Queens,” Richards tweeted. “That’s why we’re proud to fly this flag for the first time in front of Queens Borough Hall for all to see. To our trans and LGBTQIA+” communities of color, we see you.”
Cheerleaders from Cheer New York, a volunteer LGBTQ and ally cheer squad, waved silver pom-poms in the air during the inaugural ceremony.
The flag-raising event was held in-person one year after Queens Pride festivities were forced to go virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year’s virtual event for Queens Pride represented the first time in more than two decades that the event was not held in its usual format. Instead, leaders held an hours-long program online to highlight the history of Queens Pride.
The pandemic continued to impact Queens Pride this year by preventing the annual march from taking place in June, but under the theme “Summer of Pride,” events will instead be sprinkled in throughout the summer with an LGBTQ roundtable in June, a documentary screening about the history of Queens Pride in July, and an in-person march in August.
Zachariah Boyer, the co-chair of Queens Pride, said the state’s vaccination efforts helped to set up a better summer — beginning with the flag-raising.
“Last year, COVID-19 made it both impossible and unsafe for us to gather as we normally would for our march and celebrations,” Boyer said in a written statement. “But, because of tireless vaccination efforts, we’re able to hold our Pride Flag raising and provide a moment for us to gather together in community, celebrate our successes, and prepare for the fights ahead.”
Boyer added, “We know our forward march towards Queer liberation and LGBTQIA+ equality isn’t limited to one month or event per year. However, we do hope that the flag-raising acts as a springboard to welcoming back in-person gatherings.”
During a virtual Pride event spotlighting LGBTQ performers and activists on June 14, Richards stressed the progress and importance of trans representation in the media and beyond.
“We are seeing the stories of trans people of color being told on primetime TV, we also saw a march this weekend — that’s right, Black trans lives matter — never shy about saying that,” Richards said in a Zoom recording of the event posted on YouTube video. “We’re seeing transgender and non-binary people step into leadership roles in every industry. That took years of hard work, years of changing hearts and minds bit by bit.”
While Queens is the latest to raise the flag, other boroughs have also done the same thing, including in Brooklyn, where Borough President Eric Adams raised the Progress Pride Flag at Brooklyn Borough Hall this month.
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