Letter: Pride flag vandalism is a hate crime


In the past few months, there has been a spate of vandalism against publicly displayed pride flags and symbols on South Whidbey. Pride flags have been stolen from storefronts, places of worship, public buildings, and community centers. South Whidbey High School’s Pride Month banner was stolen from South Whidbey High School. In some cases, the flags and banners were found shredded and destroyed.

Make no mistake: these are hate crimes meant to marginalize and intimidate Whidbey’s LGBTIQ community. Some people still question the need for Pride Month, celebrated annually in June. Hasn’t the queer community made great strides in the past few decades? Isn’t Whidbey a beacon of inclusivity and support? The answer, unfortunately, is that we have a long way to go as a community and as a nation to achieve the dual social and political goals of equality and visibility.

It’s incumbent on all of us, queer people, friends, and allies to continue to speak out against discrimination, bullying and acts of physical and psychological harm. Say it with your presence at community events, with your voice at home, school and work, with visible statements of support, and with your vote.

There are many ways that South Whidbey Pride offers you the chance to show your support. Learn about the status of global LGBTIQ rights at a talk by Outright International at the Whidbey Institute on June 20. Join us at the South Whidbey Pride Parade and Celebration in downtown Langley on June 22. And be dazzled at a fabulous tribute to Liberace and Liza at WICA on June 28. (For more info, go to southwhidbeypride.org)

People can destroy our flags. They cannot destroy our spirit. Come stand with us in strength and unity!

Jeff Natter

President of South Whidbey Pride