Flag raising frustrationTop Highlights Thursday, July 26th, 2012
The Hillcrest flag raising was billed as a community event, yet many LGBT people were left outside the gates. As I enjoyed the Pride festivities over the weekend, many approached me to complain about the flag raising ceremony.
The complaint? Why would you charge $15 to attend the flag raising that was billed as a community event. If the flag is supposed to represent all of us who are members of the LGBT community, why were some excluded because they could not afford to pay $15?
The organizers of the event, members of the Hillcrest Business Association and San Diego Pride, were absolutely short-sighted in their planning and wrong-headed in their approach. To be fair, the event was in theory open to all at no charge; but due to extreme confusion and a lack of planning, many at the gate were told they needed to pay $15 to attend the ceremony.
As some watched from beyond the fence, it created the impression of a caste system at work. The haves and the have nots; clearly not a way to build community. This was in direct contrast to the Harvey Milk Street ceremony just a few weeks ago, which was open to everyone.
What was worse was the missed media opportunity. Imagine what it would have looked like if Normal Street had been completely packed with people all the way to Lincoln Avenue?
While all of this may be a big misunderstanding, I can tell you that many in the community were upset. Simply by creating a different fence configuration the organizers could have made the flag raising ceremony clearly open to all.
Unfortunately, the Hillcrest Business Association and San Diego Pride have left many with the idea that they are trying to maximize the dollars they collect from the LGBT community during Pride.
While both organizations need to raise money, a better cost-benefit analysis of these events needs to be done. For example, the Hillcrest Hoedown last year only generated $89 – that’s right: a whopping $89 for the coffers of the Hillcrest Business Association. I hope the Block Party fairs better. We’ll see.
While the Hillcrest Pride Flag flies proudly, we must remember that it represents our entire community, not a select few. So to those who were excluded, please understand it was the simple result of poor planning and leadership.
San Diego LGBT Weekly
Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=26974