The National Park Service, which approved a noontime ceremony at the Stonewall National Monument today to dedicate the rainbow flag on October 11, suddenly withdrew at the behest of the White House, turning the event into another attack on LGBT people by the Trump administration.
LGBT activists planning the event with federal officials say bureaucratic homophobia caused the last-minute change in plans leaving more than 100 activists to gather without a federal representative.
President Barack Obama designated a National Stonewall Monument to commemorate the uprising in New York City and the LGBT community that fought back for equality.
A year later, the administration of President Donald Trump refused to support the ceremony and his White House is accused of rolling back human rights.
Organizers of the dedication were informed yesterday afternoon that the National Park Service’s Barbara Applebaum is passing responsibilities as caretaker of the nautical flagpole to the City of New York.
NPS already donated the rainbow flags to the City of New York, which assured that the ceremony will go on and that flag will fly permanently.
According to Andy Humm of Gay City News, when the administration “saw the pre-publicity on the ceremony, the National Park Service under Secretary Ryan Zinke’s Department of the Interior 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 US government property.”
Applebaum, the Interior Department representative who had been working on the monument dropped out at the last minute as a speaker at the ceremony, citing a schedule conflict.
Tom Viola, longtime executive director of Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS, which funded the event, said, “It’s a shame that on what is an extraordinary day that behind the scenes it descended into a nasty fight that reflects the vindictiveness that is at the top of the food chain, which is the White House. But all told, a great day for the LGBT community. We will prevail.”
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