Wilmington recognizes LGBTQ Pride Month, raises rainbow flag over Rodney Square

The City of Wilmington is recognizing June as LGBTQ Pride Month with the flying of a rainbow flag over Rodney Square.

Observers cheered as the flag took its place over the downtown landmark.

The day, however, was more than symbolic for many in the audience.

According to Mayor Mike Purzycki, Wilmington deserves its reputation as a welcoming city to all, including LGBTQ Delawareans. The city has touted the findings of the National Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index of more than 500 municipalities, giving Wilmington a score of 87 of a possible 100 - the highest among eight cities and towns indexed in Delaware for the second consecutive year.

"Today we come together under the banner of pride, but it might also be under the banner of dignity, of respect, of decency, of togetherness and understanding," Purzycki said.

The city's proclamation also recognized the 50th anniversary of the uprising at Stonewall in New York, a turning point in the LGBTQ liberation movement.

"The raising of this flag symbolizes the raised voices of the past, the present and the future that will continue to help us move forward," Wilmington Cultural Affairs Director Tina Betz said.

 "As a gay man in this day and age I think it's important to respect that the reason I can stand before a crowd of people and celebrate my pride is because of the past generations that have fought for me, who didn't have these rights," Dan Lord said. Lord is a percussionist with a local band and is also creative director at Theatre N. 

Theatre N will host one of the city's premiere Pride Month events Thursday night. The venue's first LGBT Pride Show takes place from 7:00 p.m. unil 10:00 p.m.

Friday June 14th, Delaware Pride Inc. hosts a networking happy hour at Trolley Tap House, 1616 Delaware Avenue, from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.

Thursday June 20th, all are invited to Our Night Out from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at Kid Sheleens, 1801 West 14th Street. Our Night Out is a long-running monthly happy hour that welcomes the LGBTQ community.

The flag was donated by The Chemours Company, which has world headquarters in a building that overlooks Rodney Square. The colors have a meaning: red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunshine, green for nature, blue for harmony and purple for spirit.

As he observed Wednesday's activities, Matt Bib of Bellefonte wore rainbow-striped mouse ears and a shirt bearing the message "proud together."

"I've come out late in life, but I've had nothing but a good experience here," Bib said. "To see the city flying the rainbow flag just shows that the city supports equality across the board." 

"I know we'll get there someday, with equality for all."