Flashes of white, pink and blue are flying proudly in the heart of Jackson. These three colors make up the Transgender Pride Flag. The morning of Wednesday, March 31, City of Jackson officials and local LGBTQ activists made history as they hoisted the flag up the flag pole in Horace Blackman Park. The special flag flying is to honor transgender residents for International Transgender Day of Visibility.
Since 2009, the Day of Visibility has celebrated transgender people by recognizing their successes and roles in communities. Jackson’s flag flying marks the first time the City has honored the Day of Visibility, and the first time the Transgender Pride Flag has been displayed in a public space in Jackson County.
Mayor Derek Dobies and City Manager Jonathan Greene helped hoist the flag onto the flag pole in Horace Blackman Park, a public park in the center of Downtown Jackson. Mayor Dobies says this shows the City is supportive of its transgender residents and visitors. “Jackson is tolerant and inclusive City that views diversity as a strength. We want people to feel welcome here, and this flag is a reflection of that,” Mayor Dobies said.
Karyl Baker, Chairperson of the Jackson Pride Center, the community’s LGBTQ advocacy organization, also helped raise the flag with City officials. “I am glad Jackson is coming into the 21st Century and people are able to be themselves and live more openly now. This shows that the community cares about LGBTQ residents,” Baker said.
Jackson resident Lana Kane says she watched proudly as the flag was raised. “It means in the City, people like me are seen. I grew up not feeling that way because society doesn’t want to see transgender people and when they do see us we’re demonized. So to know enough that the City cares enough to represent us and make us visible, means the world to me,” Kane said.
Any local group wanting to have a flag flying in the park for a particular honor are asked to contact the City Manager’s Office. City officials will review the request and determine an appropriate time to fly the flag.