Pride on Flag Day

Old Glory and the Progressive Pride Flag aloft together on the Vineyard.

The U.S. flag and the Progressive Pride flag aloft outside West Tisbury Town Hall. -Rich Saltzberg

June 14 is the day Americans celebrate the adoption of the Stars and Stripes at the Second Continental Congress. Since 1777, when the flag represented 13 colonies and had only 13 stars, Flag Day has honored the U.S. flag over the years in all the iterations that ultimately led to the present 50-star flag. 

The month of June is LGBTQ Pride Month, a time for reflection, celebration, and advocacy in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities. Pride Month also commemorates the 1969 Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village, N.Y. — clashes triggered by a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar, that escalated when the city deployed riot police. 

The Vineyard’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People chose West Tisbury’s select board as the first body it would ask to approve flying the Progressive Pride flag for the month of June. The Progressive Pride flag is a variant of the multicolored LGBTQ Pride flag with added chevrons meant to encompass marginalized people of color and indigenous people. 

Arthur Hardy-Doubleday, president of the Vineyard’s NAACP chapter, and Jennelle Gadowski, a member of the chapter’s executive committee and chair of the chapter’s LGBTQ issues committee, came before the board June 2 to request the proessive flag be placed on the town hall flagpole. 

“As a person who grew up on Martha’s Vineyard and didn’t come out of the closet until I was about to graduate from law school, I think that it’s important that this community show outwardly its acceptance,” Hardy-Doubleday said. He likened running the flag up the town flagpole to displaying a symbol of hope. “And I just hope that by raising this flag over town hall, that there will be youth that will look at it and understand that this community accepts them,” he said.

This was a view shared by Gadowski, who said she hopes people will “see that that symbol, that flag, is a reminder that they are respected, that they are welcomed, and they are safe in our town, in our community on this Island.” Gadowski said the Pride flag is an inspiration for her.

“I know for me,” she said, “I drive by a house in West Tisbury that has a Black Lives Matter flag and a Pride flag and the amount of joy it brings me every single day knowing that’s there — no matter how bad a day I’m having … I really want to bring that feeling of comfort and security and hope to all of our community members, whether they are out or not; it’s really important that we as a community uplift all of us.”

Select board member Kent Healy said he supported the NAACP’s efforts but couldn’t support such a flag on town property. “I would encourage their efforts, but I think only the town, state, or national flag should be raised on a town flagpole,” Healy said. 

Select board chair Skipper Manter asked if it was established practice or law that might prevent such a flag from flying on town property. “Probably both,” Healy said. 

Town administrator Jennifer Rand said flying the flag appeared permissible so long as the U.S. flag remained the uppermost flag on the flagpole and the U.S. flag wasn’t smaller than the flag or flags beneath it. 

“I think the legal question is answered, right?” select board member Cynthia Mitchell asked. “Or at least there isn’t a clear indication that there are only certain flags that can be flown. Correct? “Correct,” Rand said. 

“And if that’s the case,” Mitchell said, “and maybe if it weren’t the case, I’m going to take issue with Kent and say I agree with Jennelle and with Arthur. It’s an important thing to do.”

Manter said he agreed with Mitchell but in a partial nod to Healy, he said other organizations may want to fly flags on the town pole too, going forward. Manter said it “would be challenging for us to say no with no parameters or guidelines or policies … that’s the only issue I have.” 

Rand said there may come a day when that is an issue, but pointed out the fact the town “resoundingly” supported a diversity statement at town meeting last year, and a diversity committee ensued. “This flag, as I understand it, goes beyond simply being a gay pride flag, to being a flag of support for marginlized communities,” Rand said. “And so we’ve shown support for this, we’ve expressed our support for this, and there’s a leg to stand on for the board of selectmen to say, ‘Here’s why we said yes, and here’s why this may be different when another time we say no.”

Town moderator Dan Waters weighed in with his support for the flag. “As a member of the LGTBQ community, and as a citizen of West Tisbury for many decades, I want to thank Jennelle and Arthur for their very eloquent words. I’m from a different generation, and one of the reasons I moved to West Tisbury is because I feel safe here, and accepted.” Waters went on to say, “We’re not talking about a group or organization here like the one you, Skipper, anticipate hearing from in the future. We’re talking about a segment of the community — a very broad, diverse segment of the community. This is a part of the fabric of the community.” Waters summed up his thoughts by saying the flag was about inclusion. “I already do feel included, but I know that as a young person, if I was Jennelle’s age, and I saw that flag flying outside West Tisbury [Town Hall], I would know that was my home, and I would feel safe here. I already do feel safe, but having that extra statement would mean a lot to me.”

The board went on to vote 2-1 to permit the Progressive Pride flag to fly at town hall and to be affixed to the West Tisbury Free Public Library. Healy was the dissenting vote. 

Among other places the Progressive Pride flag can be seen flying is at Owen Park in Tisbury and in front of the Dukes County Courthouse in Edgartown.

On Monday, Tisbury town administrator Jay Grande said upon receiving a letter from the NAACP, he made the administrative decision to fly the flag, and informed the select board of that decision. “Owen Park seemed to be a good, visible location,” Grande said. “Town hall is going to have some construction work going on.”

Dukes County manager Martina Thornton told The Times Monday that Dukes County commissioners voted unanimously to approve the flag for courthouse use. 

On June 1, President Biden issued a proclamation in support of Pride Month 2021. “During LGBTQ+ Pride Month, we recognize the resilience and determination of the many individuals who are fighting to live freely and authentically,” President Biden wrote in part. “In doing so, they are opening hearts and minds, and laying the foundation for a more just and equitable America. This Pride Month, we affirm our obligation to uphold the dignity of all people, and dedicate ourselves to protecting the most vulnerable among us.”

On June 11, President Biden issued a proclamation in support of Flag Day and National Flag Week (the week starting June 13). “Since adoption of the Stars and Stripes, Americans — and people around the world — have continuously looked to our flag as a symbol of unity and liberty,” President Biden wrote in part. “Our flag has sailed around the globe, and journeyed to the Moon and, now, to Mars. It has flown on fields of battle, and marks the resting places of those who have given what President Lincoln called ‘the last full measure of devotion’ for our country. Its prominence at civic landmarks and seats of public authority communicates the promise of democracy — that under this flag, the rule of law is supreme and the people reign. As we continue the sacred work of building a more perfect Union together, let our flag serve as a reminder to us, and to the world, that America stands for and strives for the promise of freedom, justice, and equality for all.”


  1. What rights do the marginalized not have. Who are these people who can not live with dignity, freely and with authenticity? We have laws that protect everyone. Please let me know what rights are missing for this identity? People may disagree with certain lifestyles but the state and federal laws are protecting them.

    • I’m glad you asked that question, Andrew. I don’t have all the answers as to how marginalized people face discrimination and violence, and I welcome others to chime in. I would also remind you that the progress flag is not just for people “with certain lifestyles” – it also represents straight and gender-conforming people who are not of white European descent.

      I do know that people that are black, indigenous, brown, or LGBTQI+ are subject to hate crimes just because of who they are. Statistically, they’re more likely to be unlawfully targeted, beaten, and even killed by law enforcement. Gay, queer, and trans folks are victims of physical and sexual abuse in jails. “Sundown towns” still exist. LGBTQI+ kids experience more bullying and harassment than their peers, and may be thrown out of their homes by rigid and close-minded parents. Check out for the stats.

      Just because there are laws in place does not prevent people from discriminating, harassing, attacking, and even killing others based on hatred and prejudice. The progress flag celebrates the progress we as a culture are making toward a society of full inclusion and respect for all.

      • Once again Keller you got it wrong. If you read the case carefully the baker did not refuse to bake a cake for the gay couple. He would sell them a cake. He simply did not want to bake a cake for them of their own design because the design was against his religious beliefs. It is very important for you to read the fine print. Besides this case was clearly about an agenda or gays testing an evangelical christian. It was not because of discrimination they felt. By the way, Homosexuals have a higher soci- economic status than the average american.

  2. I completely agree with you, Andrew. As far as I can tell, those who are complaining seem to enjoy the same rights and privileges that everyone else does. What I don’t understand is the need for a flag, the purpose of which is to proclaim a person’s sexual orientation to the world. Everyone has a sexual orientation, but up until recently, it was always considered to be something personal, not something that you announce to the world or raise a flag about.

    • Up until recently, it was considered something personal??? Are you kidding me??? If it was “personal”, why did the state jail people for the “crime” of sodomy? Apparently the state did not believe it was “personal”.

      • Is that all you have Chatinover —a wedding cake? The bakery will cook them a cake but not the one they want with two men kissing on top of the cake. And you think they are marginalized because of a cake. We have laws against discrimination but you want everyone to like everyone else and it aint gonna happen. I am not crazy about looney liberals but you want to force me to do so. Proclaiming ones sexual proclivities is legal but indiscreet.

        • Of course you have the right to hate. YOU asked the question, what RIGHTS do the “marginalized” not have. I gave you an example. I am not forcing you to do anything. You can hold on to the hate as long as you like. As for “looney liberals”, I’m not the one who doesn’t like somebody because of their sexual orientation. I consider that looney. And I ask you again, do you consider this a “lifestyle choice” or the way a person was born? And yes, I do think it matters when somebody is denied service in a public business because of who they are.

          • Mr Chatinover, when did you come to a conclusion that differing opinion is ”hate”. You use the world so freely. You also misuse the word ”like” with approval. I like people but I dont approve of their behavior. Then you talk about ”denied service” The baker didnt deny selling the coupe a cake–just not the cake they wanted. You need to be careful in your logic and be very precise and if so you can still hold to your opinions but to rant away at deny and hate and rights without understanding the meaning is dumb.

        • Andrew– the company advertised that it decorated wedding cakes.
          Every single wedding cake they did had input from and was approved by the customer.
          In this case, they refused to decorate the cake–that is their business. That’s discrimination— not bias–
          If a restaurant that was run by Jewish people was willing to give you raw hamburger but refused to cook it for you because you have blond hair and blue eyes and they had an attitude about the Holocaust, would you say that is ok ?

    • John, straightness has always been represented and “announced” at every public turn, in various forms, whether there was an emblem for it or not. It was considered the only acceptable way of life for the longest time. Media reflected that. So did politics. Laws. Social interactions. Etc. Men and women were allowed to kiss each other in movies. Men and men, not so much. I don’t remember anyone instructing straight soldiers not to tell others about their relationships. The list goes on.

      I’m guessing there is no straight flag because efforts to show solidarity arise from being mistreated or silenced. When people are shamed, they will push back with displays of pride, both to offer support and mobilize change. Anyone who dislikes this group’s vocal approach should place blame on the discrimination that necessitated it.

      I take it back. Google is telling me there is a straight pride flag. A weak design, and I think the rainbow is prettier, but that’s probably beside the point.

  3. As the daughter, niece and sister of brave Americans who risked their life’s during WW2 and Vietnam I have trouble understanding why any other flag other then the POW and MIA present under our beloved American flag. If the town needs
    to install another pole for LGBGQ, All Black Lives Matter etc that’s fine but why do we have to subjugate one we’ve embraced for generations for
    new ones as they arise? There’s room for everyone.

  4. Let’s see, the “marginalized” can be discriminated against in commerce. Want a wedding cake, too bad, I don’t do cakes for gays. Want to adopt a child? I’m a private adoption agency and I can discriminate against you. Are you of the opinion that LBGTQ is a “lifestyle” choice?

  5. John– people seem to need a flag for some reason– But whatever the issue is some people have a tendency ( and a right ) to wave a flag around. It displays your feelings in a symbolic , and easily identifiable symbol. You know, like the confederate flag, or the swastika– or patriot and trump flags while storming the capitol and murdering a police officer . You and Andrew are free to wave those flags around all you want. There are no laws in the United States to prevent you from flying a nazi flag in your yard.
    Symbols of racial hatred have been around for a long time. In America (the land of the free)
    we can wave any flag we want around— if someone waves a rainbow flag , why does that offend you ? can you understand that if someone waves a swastika around that it may offend someone whos ancestors were murdered by the nazis ? Can you even try to comprehend the pain and suffering that the LGBTQ goes through on a daily basis ?
    No, John– they do not enjoy the same rights that you do.

  6. One way to recognize homophobic responses to this article is to notice the use of the word, “marginalized” by those who claim not to see any discrimination against marginalized people. The ability to see some groups of people as marginalized is already a (denied) admission of the discrimination endured. Do we really need to list all the ways that marginalized people suffer discrimination to change the minds of those who not only refuse to see it, but do what they can to marginalize them further?

    • mar·​gin·​al·​ized | \ ˈmärj-nə-ˌlīzd , ˈmär-jə-nᵊl-ˌīzd \
      Definition of marginalized
      : relegated to a marginal position within a society or group

      “Marginalized populations are groups and communities that experience discrimination and exclusion (social, political and economic) because of unequal power relationships across economic, political, social and cultural dimensions.”

  7. I agree that every faction should have it’s own celebration. I do not agree with usurping an existing holiday to tag onto. It’s demeaning to the pride issue to be second fiddle to Flag Day. It’s even more demeaning to Native Americans to insist on abolishing Columbus Day to replace it with Indigenous People’s Day. If you are different, be different.

  8. Yes Ms Diez, I would discriminate against a pedophile. Perhaps he or she would be marginalized. Dont know what point you are making. Would you be ok with marginalizing a Polygamist for example? Maybe every behvior is ok. We have laws to protect all manner of people and their behavior. You wont get laws that force people to accept that behavior. You would like it if my ideology were remodelled and you have marginalized me for a couple of years. Please note the difference between discrimination and approval. The two are very different.

    • An individual isn’t marginalized because of their behavior or criminal convictions. Marginalized people are part of a subgroup of a society that has created a culture that excludes them from mainstream participation in economic, political, or social spheres, usually based on prejudice and bias.

      Yes, criminals such as pedophiles may be restricted from certain activities after their sentence is served and they return to the community, but so are white collar criminals that can no longer work in the financial sector or physicians or attorneys that are stripped of their licenses to practice after a conviction related to their profession. This isn’t marginalization.

  9. Ms Norton no one in the US is ”denied” the opportunity to succeed and there is enormous testimony to that fact. All manner of ethnicity and status have emerged to highly successful positions in life. We do not have a caste system as in India. There are behaviors that one doesnt always agree with but everyone is protected by the law. Would I prefer to not break bread with a person who has a tattoo on their face? Yes because that tells me something about character. Again you are conflating discrimination with approval.

    • There may be a difference in theory. In practice, many Americans aren’t content to disapprove and leave it at that. They seek out leaders who do not support equal rights, who want to block those protective laws. That is where discrimination comes into play. How many would love to see gay marriage made illegal? Pride is not a simple matter of announcing preferences to the world, like someone else here suggested, nor is it new. The flag has been around since the ’70s, pre-progress, and became part of a broader movement. It took decades of work to challenge some discriminatory laws. This group has served a purpose.

  10. “Would I prefer to not break bread with a person who has a tattoo on their face? Yes because that tells me something about character” ~ANDREW ENGELMAN

    Judging a person’s character– their reliabilty, honesty and moral fiber– based solely on an ignorant assumption that any physical appearance/self-decoration is an indication of low moral fiber, does indeed end in discriminatory behavior.

    What’s strange is that the most famous person with the worst character imaginable (Trump and his lethal covid lies, cheating, narcissism, extorting, inciting riots, calling neo nazis good people, being a traitor to the Constitution, etc) has a neat, professional physical appearance much like ENGELMAN’s. ENGELMAN, your ability and method of assessing character is minus 10 and falling. I’d find some other indicator to determine your prejudices if you insist on having them. Face tattoos are unreliable.

  11. Actually Diez tatoos tell us a great deal about a person as do nose rings and belly button rings. BTW Trump does not have a good character. He is a low vocabulary narcisist who never had a boss. His policies were what most people voted for not his persona. Character is exhibited by myopic rants and rage on this post website by certain people who will go unnammed.

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