In the midst of Pride celebrations across New York City and around the country, a Rainbow Flag display at the historic Stonewall National Monument was vandalized on June 10. Photos provided by District 3’s New York City councilmember, Erik Bottcher, depict Rainbow and Transgender Pride Flags snapped off the memorial and tossed to the ground.
The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force told Gay City News that three unidentified men were walking past the Stonewall National Monument shortly after 3 a.m. when they allegedly started breaking Pride Flags on display along a fence. The alleged vandals then fled to the east on Waverly Place.
While the Hate Crimes Task Force conducts their investigation, Bottcher said the community will remain resilient.
“I am outraged by this act of vandalism on a site that is sacred to our community,” Bottcher told Gay City News in a written statement on June 12. “This monument represents the tireless efforts of the LGBTQ+ community to secure our human rights. This hateful act underscores the importance of Pride Month and the ongoing struggle for justice and acceptance of all. I strongly condemn all forms of hate directed at the LGBTQ+ community and urge all people to come together to stand up for the rights and dignity of all.”
The Stonewall National Monument was established on June 24, 2016 as the first national monument dedicated to LGBTQ+ history, and the Stonewall Inn itself has been a pillar of the community since the 1969 Stonewall protests that sparked the modern LGBTQ+ civil rights movement.
The incident follows a similar incident that occurred in February when a Rainbow Flag was set on fire at Little Prince Restaurant in Manhattan. Rainbow Flags have also been vandalized at other establishments around the city in recent years, including the Harlem-based LGBTQ bar known as Alibli Lounge as well as Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery on the Lower East Side.