LGBTQ Pride Month: Smalltown Baker Makes Lemonade from Homophobia 

By Elaine Herscher, Senior Editor


Despite the 46-year existence of the Pride flag – designed by San Franciscan Gilbert Baker — the symbol still seems to be a source of irritation for some.  

A baker in the small town of Cranford, New Jersey, raised $4,000 for the pro-LGBTQ-youth Trevor Project after receiving hate mail from a customer who took issue with the Pride flag hanging outside her shop.  

The letter, penned by an anonymous “concerned citizen,” had this to say: “It’s not that we despise the flag. It’s just that we do not want to be associated with crazy left wingers who hate America.” 

After posting the note on her social media account, bakery owner Amanda Giardi announced the fundraiser. “Let’s make lemonade out of the lemons,” she wrote on Instagram. Customers lined up in droves, and she ran out of baked goods in 70 minutes. 

At a time when some cities have banned Pride flags from being flown from government buildings, residents of Williamstown, Massachusetts, voted overwhelmingly last month to allow the Progress Pride flag – which specially recognizes transgender people and people of color — to be flown from municipal flag poles. 

“LGBTQ-plus youth still face a world where their basic being is questioned and legislated,” said resident Justin Adkins, who identifies as transgender. “Flying a flag is, really, the least we can do.” 

And finally, the Department of Veterans Affairs flatly turned down a demand from Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) that the department remove all Pride flags from its facilities. 

“VA facilities fly the Pride flag – which was created by an Army veteran – as a tribute to the service and sacrifice of LGBTQ+ veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors,” VA Press Secretary Terrence Hayes told the Helena Independent Record.  

Rosendale complained that flying the flag interferes with veterans’ healthcare, which Hayes assured him it does not. 

The original rainbow flag was designed by Baker, an out gay man and indeed a veteran, in 1978 for San Francisco’s Gay Freedom Day Parade. A 30-foot-by-60-foot remnant was found and authenticated two years ago and is now in Baker’s collection at GLBT Historical Society Museum and Archives in San Francisco.

The Progress Pride Flag added to the original flag a white, pink, and light blue stripe to represent the Trans community. The black and brown stripes depict communities of color, and the black stripe also represents the thousands of people lost during the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s and ’90s.

The Intersex-Inclusive Progress Pride flag, pictured on the main Intranet page, is the most up-to-date flag, adding the yellow triangle with the circle to represent the intersex community.

This Pride month, we at LifeLong are highlighting the positive achievements of the LGBTQ community. We recognize there are battles being fought for LGBTQ rights across the nation, and we’re highlighting a few of the victories as well as celebrating everything Pride is about. 

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