Pride Month sashayed into Winston-Salem with big plans and much promise: an annual Pride Festival scheduled for the middle of the month, a new crosswalk mural to commemorate the occasion and, in a show of support and to increase visibility, the city temporarily changed the profile picture on its Facebook page to a version of the city logo emblazoned with the Pride flag.
That adjustment would last about an hour.
After a swarm of comments on the page — both for and against the move — the city swapped out the Pride logo for the original.
Compounding this unforced error, an email from the city’s Director of Marketing and Communications Frank Elliott blamed the reversal on an unnamed rogue employee who posted the item “without authorization” and “prematurely,” which, if one parses the language, are understood as somewhat contradictory statements.
It’s like, Which is it, Frank? Was it unauthorized, or did someone post an authorized image too soon?
Then came equivocation: “In addition to being Pride Month, June is also recognized as PTSD Awareness Month, Gun National Violence Awareness Month and Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, among others. The city is dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion, however, as a matter of fairness we cannot promote one cause over the others through our logo.”
He forgot National Camping Month, National Fruit and Vegetables Month, National Salsa Month and National DJ Month, all of which have chosen June to highlight their causes.
But c’mon. The city is not dropping a mural to celebrate salsa, nor is it planning a weekend of festivities to honor local DJs (though that’s not a bad idea).
No, in Winston-Salem — and most of the rest of the nation — June is Pride Month, a time for the LGBTQIA+ community to revel in their identities even as our state pursues legislation that marginalizes or outright denies their existence. And it’s a chance for Winston-Salem to demonstrate to those who make the laws that the city could not and would not function without the LGBTQIA+ folks and the people who support them.
In short, Pride is a time to stand up to homophobic and transphobic bullies, not acquiesce to their petty demands.
Join the First Amendment Society, a membership that goes directly to funding TCB‘s newsroom.
We believe that reporting can save the world.
The TCB First Amendment Society recognizes the vital role of a free, unfettered press with a bundling of local experiences designed to build community, and unique engagements with our newsroom that will help you understand, and shape, local journalism’s critical role in uplifting the people in our cities.
All revenue goes directly into the newsroom as reporters’ salaries and freelance commissions.