In A Historic First, The Rainbow Flag Will Be Flown Permanently On Federal Land

Curtis M. Wong
(Andrew Kelly / Reuters)

History will be made at Stonewall once again. 

The inn, which is located in New York’s Greenwich Village, was the site of the June 28, 1969 riots which are considered the symbolic start of the modern day gay rights movement. In 2016, former President Barack Obamadesignated the inn, an adjacent park and its environs as the country’s first national monument to LGBTQ rights. With this designation, the 7.7-acre area became federally protected to ensure its preservation for future generations. 

So it’s only fitting that the Stonewall National Monument will soon become the home of the first rainbow flag to be permanently placed on federal land and maintained by the National Park Service. The flag will replace the New York state flag on a nautical flagpole outside Stonewall and be raised in a dedication ceremony Oct. 11, which is also designated as National Coming Out Day

In 2016, former President Barack Obama designed the Stonewall Inn and its environs as the country’s first national monument to LGBTQ rights.  (Drew Angerer via Getty Images)

Activist Michael Petrelis, who spearheaded the effort, said in a Thursday statement that the news was bittersweet given that many in the LGBTQ community are concerned for their future under President Donald Trump, who ran on an explicitly anti-queer platform

“It is a victory for our community to have these symbolic colors flying majestically over our Stonewall, designated as a National Monument by President Obama, even as our LGBTQ brothers and sisters are under attack by the current regime in power,” he said.

Oct. 11 also marks the 30th anniversary of the March on Washington for LGBT Rights, as well as the first time the AIDS Memorial Quilt was displayed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. 

The significance of the date wasn’t lost on Petrelis, who likened Trump’s stance on LGBTQ issues to that of former President Ronald Reagan, who didn’t publicly acknowledge the AIDS crisis until 1987. By that point, more than 20,000 Americans had died from HIV/AIDS-related causes. 

“It is a victory for our community to have these symbolic colors flying majestically over our Stonewall... even as our LGBTQ brothers and sisters are under attack by the current regime in power,” activist Michael Petrelis said.  (Drew Angerer via Getty Images)

“As we gather today, we are reminded of another Oct. 11, 30 years ago,” he added, “when the names of fallen comrades were symbolically celebrated on another national monument ― the AIDS Quilt ― during the reign of another president who waged an attack against us.”

Another LGBTQ rights activist, Ken Kidd, told Newsweek that he was surprised plans for the flag display got approved under the Trump administration. 

“Our rainbow colors flying in tandem with the stars and stripes is a source of inspiration, a recognition of equality, a recognition of a struggle for equality,” he said, “that is not over by any stretch of imagination.”

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  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.