On June 8, the Queer Berwyn Collective held a march and rally.
According to a pre-event press release, the group discussed "why Ald. [Scott] Lennon's exclusionary flags that call June 'Gay' Pride Month are problematic," adding that the marchers planned to "use this as a teachable moments about inclusive Pride flags."
The collective then marched to Berwyn City Hall "to deliver a statement during City Council on the flags and on turning the city's Pride proclamation into action and policy."
The statement to the City Council is below:
"To the Mayor and Council:
"Good Evening, my name is Joseph and my pronouns are he/him, and I live in the 7th District at the intersection of 18th and Wisconsin. I am here today as a representative of the Queer Berwyn Collective, and a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and a proud and vocal bisexual queer person.
"Today the City will again vote on a proclamation honoring Pride Month and will fly a Pride flag at City Hall, as it has been doing every June since at least 2017. I believe it is important to understand the history of why June is recognized as Pride month and who it represents. In June 1969 the stonewall riot was recognized as the first pride and it was started by two transgender woman of color, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, who at the time could be legally arrested for wearing clothing that affirms their identity. From that iconic riot Pride month was established to bring visibility, remember the protests and fights our community has had to endure and continue to say we are here and we are not going anywhere. Our community consists of people of different sexual orientations, gender identities and sex characeristics and is represented by dozens of flags besides just the rainbow. The queer community in Berwyn is fed up with the lack of visibility and recognition of the community and the lack of actions taken.
"We come here to ask: What policies and steps has the City of Berwyn actually made to put those words into action? What progress has been made since the first proclamation was passed?
"Last week in the 1st Ward at the prominent Oak Park and Windsor intersection, a 'Pride sign' with the text 'Happy Gay Pride' across the top, Lennon in large block letter across the entire middle, and more Ald. Scott Lennon branding across the bottom was debuted.
"We came here to ask Ald. Lennon why he chose to continue to use this sign. Why did the sign mysteriously disappear this afternoon? This month is NOT "Gay" Pride. Saying so excludes the majority of the LGBTQIA+ community, such as lesbians, bisexuals, transgender, intersex and queer folks. Pride is not a political platform and the way he has represented our community is offensive and unacceptable.
"We also came here today to demand that Pride be removed from Alderman Lennon, who is now the only alderman from the LGBTQIA+ community on City Council, but has chosen to fly a Pride flag on public property with the text 'Happy Gay Pride' and his name in large print on it. This month is NOT 'Gay' Pride. Saying so excludes the majority of the LGBTQIA+ community, such as lesbians, bisexuals, transgender, intersex and queer folks. Pride is not a political platform and the way he has represented our community is offensive and unacceptable.
"We demand that pride events no longer be run by Ald. Scott Lennon and be taken over by the Queer Berwyn Collective, which is made of up a diverse group of queer individuals and event professionals who can curate a fully inclusive pride experience and show that Berwyn can celebrate our community as a whole.
"In light of these two issues, we call on the City to:
Put their proclamation into action by taking concrete action:
Update the City Employee Handbook to include all members of the LGBTQIA+ community including gender expression and sex characteristics as types of discrimination that the City prohibits.
Update all vendor contracts to include all types of discrimination that the City prohibits.
Implement a policy for restroom access for transgender employees and residents in government buildings, which should include non gendered restrooms.
Implement a recruitment and retention plan for LGBTQIA+ employees.
Implement or communicate inclusive family-related benefits plans.
Implement that business licenses will be revoked if businesses violate discrimination laws.
Model inclusive language, including pronouns. Eliminating the word "preferred" from any language as someone's identity is not a preference.
Train all departments in LGBTQIA+ community issues, inclusive language and continue the education on an ongoing basis.
If a flag will be flown at City Hall, fly the Progress Pride flag with no political logos nor text on it.
Ensure The sign with Lennon's name across it is no longer on city property and it is replaced with a Progress Pride flag with no political logos nor text on it."
Queer Berwyn Collective