In retrospect, perhaps the most amazing thing is that so many people could have been living in a bubble so tight and for so long that they did not know what this flag symbolizes.
Hidden behind a paywall at the local paper is a really funny bit of local color. One of the big local events here is the Antelope Valley Fair, which is run by a state-appointed board of directors. Last year they had decorative orange flags (to celebrate the colors of the plentiful local crop of California poppies?) out on the grandstand, but thought that the plain orange fields were kind of boring. More color! Someone said, and they thought rainbows were pretty and appealing, so they ordered about a dozen big, readily-available flags to disply for purely asthetic reasons.
Sincerely, no one involved had any idea. (Hel-LO!)
So one person — one — complained. What was in that complaint is unknown; the Fair’s organizers will not identify the complainant. A couple of the commissioners got together and decided to pull the flags down. Then the local mayor — no doubt thinking that “attracting gay people means attracting money and upscale businesses” as though all gay people were wealthy — stuck his nose into the affair and said “I think the flags should go back up.” So the flags went back up. Then enough members of the Fair Board got together and decided that “The mayor doesn’t get to tell us how to run our show,” so they pulled the flags back down again. (EDIT: A commenter was informed that the flags were only taken down once, not twice as I had been informed.)
The picture in the local paper depicts two rainbow flags flying, with a third coming down, and a fourth replaced by one of the unadorned orange flags. And some rather confused-looking guys in cowboy hats watching.
Of course, the shame is that having stumbled into inadvertently flying LGBT pride flags, the organizers of the event did not simply shrug it off and say, “Yeah, their money is welcome here too.” (I went to the fair last year and didn’t even notice that they had flags at all. Chances are 95 out of 100 fairgoers would not have, either.) Instead, they have stated that having become educated about what was going on, they simply do not want to take a position on the issue. What issue? That gay people exist and need not be ashamed of themselves? I’ve a mixed opinion of the Mayor, but he made the right call here (although possibly not for the same reasons I would have preferred).
The local LGBTQ activists have made blandly-appropriate statements of regret about the incident but not made waves. They don’t need to; the farce of this series of events speaks for itself. The fact that the yo-yo flag flap appears next to another story headlined “‘Is AV racist?’ Justice Dept. Inquiry Asks” (concerning alleged racial bias in law enforcement tactics instigated at the direction of municipal authorities, a question which I think will be difficult to answer) does not add luster to a story about what smells like thinly-concealed bigotry.