Progressive rainbow flags were flown from Cork’s City Hall, from Shandon steeple, and from San Francisco’s City Hall today in a joint ceremony to mark the start of LGBTI+ awareness week.
The progressive rainbow flag, known as the intersectional rainbow flag, includes black and brown stripes to represent marginalised LGBT communities of colour, as well as pink, light blue and white stripes to represent the transgender community.
The flag being flown in San Francisco was gifted by the people of Cork as a thank-you for the donation in 2013 of a rainbow flag by the late San Francisco mayor Ed Lee.
That flag was raised over Cork’s City Hall in 2014 as Cork became the first city in Ireland to formally fly a rainbow flag from a civic or public building.
Siobhán O'Dowd, who chairs the city’s LGBT Inter-Agency Group, said she was delighted both cities worked together to mark the start of the week.
“When we agreed to become part of the Rainbow Cities Network: Share the Rainbow initiative there isn't any other city that Cork would rather share a rainbow with, and I suppose there's a lovely symbolism in that the gift of a Rainbow Flag from Mayor Lee in 2013, raised in 2014 helped us create a little bit of history here in Ireland so we are returning that lovely gesture,” she said.
Lord Mayor, Cllr Joe Kavanagh, said raising the progressive intersectional flag today signifies the city’s desire to be inclusive of the many diversities within the LGBTI+ community.
“I’m especially pleased that our friends in our sister city San Francisco are gathered right now at City Hall to also raise this flag - together we are ushering in IDAHOBIT Day (the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia) and committing ourselves to challenge prejudice and discrimination around sexual orientation, gender identity and all forms of intolerance and hatred,” he said.
“Today, as we gather at City Hall, Cork we are proud to be part of a global response to homophobia and transphobia because we are collaborating with San Francisco and also with all the cities of the Rainbow Cities Network.
“The past pandemic year has divided us from one another as in every community, city and country we’ve had to cocoon, social distance and work and live at home.
“It is heartening that right across the world we can join together, in safe fashion, to raise our voices and our flags to promote inclusion.”
The rainbow flag will be raised above County Hall by County Mayor Cllr Mary Linehan Foley, and over the Haulbowline naval base on Monday.
A range of conferences and seminars will take place online during the week, while a Notes to Cork billboard campaign is also running on billboards citywide highlighting diversity.
A European rainbow flag gifted to Cork by another sister-city, Cologne, was also raised over City Hall today.
Details on all the events taking place during the city’s LGBTQI+ Awareness Week events can be found on Facebook @CorkCityLGBTInter-AgencyGroup and on Twitter via @CorkLGBTWeek.