We can hope that someday, a declaration of support for our LGBTQ neighbors would bring indifferent shrugs like any other statement of the obvious.
We’re not there yet.
And because of that, we offer our thanks and our kudos to Appleton for making a statement that should by no means be bold or controversial:
You’re welcome here and we welcome you to live your life as the person you are.
Appleton businesses and institutions came together on Friday in recognition of National Coming Out Day. Mayor Tim Hanna ordered the rainbow pride flag be flown outside Appleton City Hall.
Many storefronts did the same. The Houdini Plaza fountain was illuminated in rainbow lights. Lawrence University had a big hand in creating a day of awareness.
It’s a small step, but every step is one closer.
It was the first time the pride flag flew at city hall and it was well in line with the significance of the day. It’s a spot on the calendar that recognizes that speaking up is a powerful tool toward reaching the ends of equality.
We know this as a safe, welcoming and compassionate place. But there’s real significance in proudly proclaiming so to those with all sorts of reasons to hold some hesitance. There’s real significance in our government setting the tone on our community values.
No one would have thought twice had the city kept its Appleton flag in place by the state and U.S. flags like any other day.
The city’s Facebook post on Coming Out Day provided a forum for discussion.There were many posts in support. There were a number of posts that demonstrate the work still to be done.
But if we’re to use social media as a gauge, it speaks well that the post gained more than 2,100 “likes” and “loves” to just over 60 of the red-cheeked angry faces.
We can take pride in being part of a supportive and kind community.
And in that pride, we express our appreciation to our business and institutional leaders for serving as an all-important amplifier.