Garden Grove approves Pride flag but not at City Hall

Garden Grove Pride Flag

Garden Grove still won’t raise the Pride flag at City Hall during LGBTQ Pride Month, but the council has approved a Pride banner at the nearby clock tower at Village Green Park. Photo: City of Garden Grove.

Garden Grove still won’t raise the Pride flag at City Hall during LGBTQ Pride Month, but the council has approved a Pride banner at the nearby clock tower.

The City Council voted 6-0 last week to hang a rainbow banner on the clock tower through the end of month. They also declared June LGBTQ Pride Month, which is recognized around the nation.

Councilman Patrick Phat Bui was absent from the meeting. He also was one of the council members who voted against flying the Pride flag at City Hall in 2019.

Garden Grove has history of harassing, persecuting gay community

The Garden Grove City Council had an informal discussion about the banner during their May 11 meeting. At that time, nobody objected to the banner idea. But later, Councilwoman Kim Nguyen raised concerns on social media that two of her colleagues had pushed back on the idea, which she originally proposed.

As a result, Nguyen brought the item up at the May 25 meeting.

At that meeting, Councilman George S. Breitigam III said the issue wasn’t about the flag, but protocol and transparency.

Nguyen said she followed policy, and the process was transparent. She also called out Breitigam.

“To say that I didn’t follow policy procedures is BS,” Nguyen said. “There was plenty of transparency. If you do not support the LGBTQ community and are against putting the banner then just say that. Don’t hide behind the excuse of saying that something wasn’t transparent.”

Breitigam also told Nguyen that just because nobody spoke up on May 11 doesn’t mean they gave consent. Breitigam also made an awkward analogy about consent. 

“I totally question the legal theory that silence equals consent,” he said. “If that were true, there’d be a lot fewer rapists in the prisons today. It does not equal consent.”

Why did Orange County District Attorney prosecute innocent gay man as sex offender?

The next day, Nguyen, who has publicly shared her experience about being a rape survivor, posted a comment on Twitter.

“I will never forget nor forgive the obscene comparison to rape and consent directed at me, especially as a survivor but I am proud that council voted 6-0 in support of a Pride flag.”

The city’s treatment of the Pride flag is consistent with the city’s treatment of gay people. The city has a history of harassing and persecuting the gay community.

During the 1960s, gay bars and club started popping up along Garden Grove Boulevard, but owners and patrons suffered incessant harassment at the hands of the city and the Garden Grove Police Department.

In the fall of 2019, the police conducted at decoy sting operation at a local bookstore and falsely arrested a gay man for lewd conduct. Instead of refusing to take the case, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, including deputy district attorney Suzie Price, who also is a Long Beach City Council member, supported prosecuting him as a sex offender.

A jury found the man innocent.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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