One of the gayest cities in America just got a bit less gay.
Although as much as 40 percent of West Hollywood’s population identifies as gay or lesbian, the rainbow flag that has flown above City Hall has been removed.
In June of 2013, West Hollywood resident Larry Block suggested that the rainbow flag should join the United States, State of California, and City of West Hollywood flags hanging above city hall, and councilman Jeffrey Prang agreed.
Councilman John Duran, however, seems extremely concerned that West Hollywood is becoming known as a city that caters primarily to LGBT people.
At one meeting, he is quoted as saying that West Hollywood is “not just a city of gay men. It belongs to heterosexual people as well, and City Hall belongs to everybody in this community, gay or straight, and let’s not ever give the impression that City Hall has become exclusive to only one part of the West Hollywood community.”
Block, who actually donated the flag that hung briefly above city hall, isn’t amused. He sees the removal of the flag as just another example of the de-gaying of the city. “The shedding of the LGBT identity is happening slowly,” Block told the L.A. Times. “It’s going with development, straight business owners… There’s just a changing environment in West Hollywood.”
Though the environment may be changing just a bit, it is important to note that plenty of LGBT signifiers still exist in West Hollywood. There are still rainbow colored crosswalks at a few points in West Hollywood, and the door is still open for the flag to be flown at City Hall on special occasions.
Still, it’s hard not to see the removal of the flag as a troubling sign of the de-gaying of the major gay meccas.
Hopefully the flag can make a triumphant return to City Hall for LGBT Pride Month this summer.