I wish to enthusiastically lend my support to Ian Stanley’s request that the city of Napa display the rainbow flag at least one day outside City Hall during Pride Week in June (“Petition asks Napa to fly rainbow flag,” March 30). Allow me to explain why I so strongly endorse Ian’s idea.

I bought a new car in May 2002, and because my garage is so full of “stuff,” I have to park my car in the driveway in front of my home. Early on the morning of Aug. 12, 2003, I noticed two gallon-size plastic jugs on either side of my new car with wisps of smoke coming out of each jug. There was a clear liquid all over my car and colored liquid (car paint) dripping off the car.

I phoned the police. They came out and made a report and identified the contents of the two jugs as muriatic acid (hydrochloric acid). The Napa Fire Department came out and hosed off the car and the grass, which still died. Three weeks and $4,000 later (thank God for car insurance), I got my car back.

A month later, on Oct. 4, 2003, my car was vandalized again. Someone threw a brick through my back window and punctured three of my tires. Again, my car had been parked in front of my house.

Again, I phoned the police and an officer made a report. I also phoned my pastor to tell her I wouldn’t be at the AIDS walk because of what had happened to my car. She was at my house a few minutes after the police officer had arrived. My pastor convinced me to go to the AIDS walk “to be with those who love me.” I did and they do.

Later that day, I phoned a friend to tell her what had happened to my car — vandalized again — and Pam said, “Sally, do you still have the rainbow flag flying on your front porch?”

My heart sank and my breath left me, because I had not made the connection between the two acts of vandalism and my display of the rainbow flag. I’m naive and trusting — and besides, I didn’t think that hate crimes could happen in good old Napa. To this day, I still don’t fly the rainbow flag on my house — I’m afraid to.

So that’s why I strongly urge the Napa City Council (and maybe the Napa County Board of Supervisors) to proudly fly the rainbow flag one day in June. Is one day out of 365 too much to ask? I think not. Besides, it would make this gay old lady feel really proud of her hometown.

Burnham lives in Napa.

(14) comments

Cathy
Cathy

Napa Mark, Sally wrote the moving story not me. I've only commented on the issue. And, I believe Ian's request is for only one day during pride week and not for the whole week.

Napa Mark
Napa Mark

Thanks for correcting me, Cathy. One day is not much to ask at all.

Napa Mark
Napa Mark

Cathy thank you for a moving story. I am saddened to hear that it happened; and saddened to hear that it happened in "good old Napa" as you say. If there were better public support of the LGBT community it would not be tacitly acceptable to carry out such acts of hate. Flying the rainbow flag for one week is a great idea that should be enthusiastically embraced if the claims to support by the Mayor are indeed genuine. It is a gesture that would help banish the persistent stigma of decades of being TREATED DIFFERENTLY THAN STRAIGHT COUNTERPARTS. That is why it is important. Many California cities fly this flag during pride week. Among them: Long Beach, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda, San Leandro, Hayward, Arcata, and San Leandro.

Cathy
Cathy

This is my last post over this because I don’t want to get caught up in the unfounded and irrational fear. And, you don’t think LGBTQ individuals have died in these wars that supposedly protect our country? Oh that is right, they were not allowed to talk about it. The fortunate ones who survived do now. Placing the rainbow flag underneath the California and American flag is not disrespecting either. Although speaking of research, you may want to find out about the rainbow flag’s history because it is interesting. The California flag has quite a history:

In 1836, Juan Alvarado and Isaac Graham led a revolution against Mexican rule. During this first revolt, rebels were able to capture Monterey and declared California "a free and sovereign state". Although their rebellion failed to secure independence for California, it inspired the design of the flag of the Bear Flag Revolt. The Lone Star Flag of California contained a single red star.

vocal-de-local
vocal-de-local

My son advocated for gays at a church youth group (questioned the authority of a right winged youth group) and one male teenager in particular began cyber bullying him. My son isn't gay. He's had a girlfriend for 3 years but he's the type of guy who stands up for the underdog. If he had lived in the 50/60s era, he would have advocated for blacks.

I felt strongly about NOT having that flag fly because I felt it imposed on local government. But after hearing your story, I'm rethinking my position.


gettingreal
gettingreal

Advocate for gays at a church? That's like selling fir coats to PETA. Yea, you're going to run into some resistance.

equalnotspecial
equalnotspecial

While govermnental requirements for direct punishment ended last year, many want to bring punishment back. Gay people have been denied equal legal treatment their entire lives, by our own government.

The importance of having our own local government signal that it no longer supports harming us, and now supports full legal equality, cannot be measured.

"It is important to note that being LGBT is not a risk factor in and of itself; however, the minority stressors that LGBT individual encounter - such as discrimination and harassment - are directly associated with suicidal behavior as well as indirectly with risk factors for suicide." (American Association of Suicidology)
http://www.suicidology.org/c/document_library/get_file?folderId=232&name=DLFE-334.pdf

"Ideology assailants report that their crimes stem from their negative beliefs and attitudes about homosexuality that they perceive other people in the community share. They see themselves as enforcing social morals." (APA)

glenroy
glenroy

Fine piece of detective work…but I don’t think it comes close to proving a thing, except raising more questions.
This flag is not about fairness, it’s about movement to get special treatment and they do get more as a result. I don’t have a problem with what anyone do or how they live, I don't know anyone who does…until what they do or receive comes at the expense of friends & family.
What flag one flies on their property is their business, the only flags flown of public property should be the flags flown for those who fell for our freedoms...ever.
If all the special interests taking more than the give society plastered their flag on City Hall our County buildings it would look like an abandoned warehouse in East Oakland.


equalnotspecial
equalnotspecial

The rainbow flag is about equal rights for all.

Gay people do not yet have full equal rights. Equal rights are not special rights.

No gay American has ever known full equal treatment under the law as promised in the founding documents required by the constitution. Many gay people have fought and died for their country, even while being denied equal rights by their own government.

Three tour Vietnam War veteran, recipient of the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star, Leonard Matlovich was one of uncountable thousands of gay service members. His tombstone, meant to be a memorial to all gay veterans, does not bear his name. It reads, “When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.”

Flying the flag at City Hall one day during Pride week, seems little to ask as a symbolic gesture that our own local government no longer supports using the law to punish and harm us, but now supports equal treatment for all, as promised and required.

BethNelsen
BethNelsen

You've got it so far. B- Bisexual, Q- Queer. When I came out it was simply Gay & Lesbian, but now I just say, "LGBTQWXYZ." ;-)

Cathy
Cathy

LGBTQ: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and/or queer. The latter term is used more by the LGBT youth apparently as a means to take back a word which was and still is considered derogatory by the older LGBT community. Sometimes the letters LG are in reversed order i.e. GLBT.

In my opinion, the rainbow flag should be raised one day in Pride Week. Hopefully, it will alleviate some of the unfounded and irrational fears I read in the other article’s comment section. Trust me, the world will not fall apart nor will Napa tourism decline over raising a rainbow flag for one day.

kelluccio
kelluccio

LGTBQ? What does this acronym stand for? I can guess some of it..............
L--Lesbian
G--Gay
T--Transgender?
B--what does this stand for?
Q--is that for queer? Or something else?

BethNelsen
BethNelsen

Sally, thank you for sharing. I've been out for nearly 19 years and left Napa just after my own exodus from the closet to go away to college. I've since lived all over the world and am now home here in Napa. I feel like Napa is now ripe to accept the fact that we are a pretty gay city- the aesthetics alone scream GAAAAAAAY! I am so sorry to hear what happened, but just know that it's probably a very small pocket of ignorance. Again, thank you for sharing your story.

rpcv
rpcv

Sally, that's a frightful story. Thank you for sharing it; it makes me all the more determined to see the rainbow flag in front of our City Hall. I'm so ashamed that happened in Napa and that you had to remove your flag because of it. Keep the faith.

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