After multiple conversations with the LGBTQ community, Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer has agreed to raise the Pride flag at City Hall.
It will fly for the first time on city property Friday, June 11 during a flag raising ceremony, which Dyer said he will attend.
Dyer became emotional as he spoke about attending the Pride flag raising ceremony at Fresno City College earlier on Friday.
“I heard story after story about how members of the LGBTQ community felt marginalized, excluded and not accepted by family, friends and even churches,” he said.
Dyer said that seeing the flag raised meant a symbolic gesture of hope and acceptance. He said the flag raising at City Hall was not meant to be a political issue.
On Thursday, Dyer had presented an alternate plan to create a community space at Eaton Plaza to raise flags, away from City Hall. But his conversations with the LGBTQ community changed his mind, he said.
“Offering up Unity Park at Eaton Plaza as a free speech area, although appreciated by many as I said, has been seen as a way to separate or to segregate the LGBTQ community from City Hall, which was never my intent,” said Dyer.
Dyer was joined by members of Faith In The Valley, many of whom identify with the LGBTQ community. Rev. Simon Biasell, pastor of Woven Community Church applauded Dyer’s message.
“I’m grateful for the people who have stood behind and in front of this flag for generations. In our Christian tradition, we have a saying that once we were blind, but now we see. And as a fellow Christian, I have witnessed this transformational moment in our mayor,” he said.
Dyer plans to continue establishing Eaton Plaza as a space to raise flags. He said he expected to continue working with the city council to establish a flag raising policy after a resolution passed last week that would allow elected officials to decide which honorary flags to fly at City Hall.