June 1, 2022
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall joined City and LGBTQ+ leaders to mark the beginning of Pride Month by raising a Pride flag above City Hall on Wednesday.
“Days like this are special as we renew our commitment to the LGBTQ+ community and celebrate our city that prioritizes diversity, equity and inclusion in everything we do,” said Mayor Mendenhall. “I’m proud to stand here today acknowledging the progress we’ve made, and to ensure this work never stops.”
Mayor Mendenhall, Salt Lake City Council Members, and representatives from the Utah Pride Center attended the flag raising and spoke about the importance of equality and inclusion for all residents. The City unfurled a new Progress Pride flag, which includes stripes representing transgender and LGBTQ+ people of color.
“It feels great to live and work in a city that is LGBTQ+ friendly and demonstrates it in this way,” said Tanya Hawkins, Co-CEO at the Utah Pride Center. “Seeing the Pride Flag in front of the City and County Building tells our community that they are wanted and they belong.”
Mayor Mendenhall invited members of the public who were in attendance to take turns raising the flag. Speakers said that Salt Lake City has long been regarded as an inclusive and welcoming place, particularly for LGBTQ+ people.
In December 2021, the City received a perfect 100-point score from the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index – a first for any city in Utah. The index gauges how well cities incorporate laws, policies and services for LGBTQ+ people.
The City is also drafting a first-ever citywide equity plan, incorporating recommendations of the Racial Equity in Policing Commission, bolstering language access and expanding ADA liaisons citywide.
Council Vice Chair Darin Mano encouraged people who have never attended Pride events before to enjoy the festival this year.
“This event is about individuals. It’s about people who never really fit in anywhere else. There will be many first timers at Pride this year, people who have been hiding in the closet their whole lives, terrified to take a step out but are finally ready to celebrate with our community. And sadly, there will be people at Pride who lost their LGBTQ+ loved ones to suicide and who come to feel close to their lost child or brother or friend. Come celebrate. Learn about their story and prove that we really are inclusive. That we are a safe place for everyone.”
The Utah Pride Center is hosting several events over the next week to celebrate Pride Month, including the Pride Festival on June 4 and 5, and the Pride parade on June 5. More information at https://utahpridecenter.org/pride-and-center/pride-week-2022.