Today at noon, the National Park Service (NPS) was supposed to help dedicate a rainbow flag at the Stonewall National Monument in New York City in an official ceremony. But it has pulled out at the last minute and is apparently distancing itself from the event altogether, angering event organizers and compelling activists to accuse the service of “bureaucratic homophobia.” The Stonewall rainbow flag dedication event will proceed without the NPS.
According to the event’s organizers, the National Park Service originally approved and sponsored today’s event, which falls on National Coming Out Day and which marks the first time the rainbow flag has ever flown over a national monument on federally funded land maintained by the park service.
However, according to Andy Humm at Gay City News, Barbara Applebaum — the scheduled speaker from the National Park Service who also arranged the event permit — dropped out due to a “schedule conflict.” Organizers also say the NPS dropped its sponsorship of the event.
Even weirder, the NPS “worked to certify that the flagpole adjacent to Christopher Park was not technically on federal land so that no rainbow flag would be flying on U.S. government property.”
“This is an unbelievably petty, sleazy, transparent bit of cruelty by the Trump administration,” says Ann Northrop, a co-host of TV news program Gay USA, who will preside over today’s dedication. “Evidently, we are so filthy to them and their right-wing supporters that they can’t even be associated with a few yards of rainbow fabric.”
Interestingly, Humm points out that maps of the monument put the flagpole “within the designated monument area — though not on federal land, the [NPS] is now saying.” The NPS has removed the web page with the Stonewall National Monument map on it.
The NPS’ distancing from the event is just the latest LGBTQ-phobic move by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump. Last week, Trump’s Department of Justice issued two memos: one saying it’s OK to fire trans people and another approving religious-based anti-LGBTQ discrimination.
On June 24, 2016, President Barack Obama officially designated the Stonewall National Monument as the first National Monument designated for an LGBTQ historic site. In April 2017, Trump signed an executive order instructing the Interior Department to review national monument designations, a move which could one day undo some of those designations including Stonewall’s.
Featured image by the U.S. National Park Service via Flickr