WINOOSKI, Vt. – Winooski leaders and the community came together to raise the Pride flag on Monday as a show of ongoing support and commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community.
In the past year, Winooski has elected Vermont’s first transgender legislator to the State House in Rep. Taylor Small, as well as the city’s first queer city councilor, Bryn Oakleaf.
“They live here, work here, and play here,” Oakleaf told the Rotary Park crowd. “They’re all welcome, and they should always feel at home.”
The flag-raising event coincided with the 52nd anniversary of the NYPD raid of the Stonewall Inn, a Manhattan gay bar. The ensuing protest movement lead to the pride marches and parades now held nationwide each June, and Rep. Small said the battle for progress and visibility rages on.
“Our liberation is tied within one another,” Small said. “We cannot be free until we are all free, and that means pride is celebrating Black Lives Matter.”
Small highlighted the progress made in the Onion City over the past year, including her election to the Vermont House of Representatives, when she became Vermont’s first openly transgender lawmaker.
“Having elected officials who are unapologetic in their representation and focusing on those who are going to be most impacted by the policies and legislation that they put forward is what is most important now more than ever as we see anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ legislation plaguing statehouses across our nation,” Small said.
Winooski Mayor Kristine Lott said it’s important to continue the city’s commitment to equity and progress as an example for the rest of the state.
“Vermont is generally seen as a welcoming place, and Winooski wants to be seen as a welcoming city, and this is just a way to reaffirm that and make a visible gesture,” Lott said.
If you want to learn more about how to support pride month in Vermont, visit pridecentervt.org.