Rainbow flag lifted at Bronx Borough Hall to kick off Pride Month

The flag representing the gay, lesbian, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA) community was hoisted at Bronx Borough Hall on June 3, 2024.
Photo Emily Swanson

A hot, sunny day provided the perfect backdrop to the vibrant colors of the LGBTQIA Pride flag that was raised at Bronx Borough Hall on Monday, June 3. 

With a DJ blasting house music and guests sporting rainbow flags and stickers — and head-to-toe rainbow outfits, in a few cases — Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson hosted a group of advocates and allies to mark the beginning of Pride Month and the office’s third annual pride flag-raising. 

Gibson’s office also made history on April 1 by hoisting the blue and pink flag representing the transgender community at Borough Hall for the first time. 

Rev. Carmen Hernandez, who delivered the invocation on June 3, said that while the day was celebratory, many in the LGBTQIA community — especially those who are transgender — are suffering and “need love, attention and respect.” Hernandez also called Gibson one of the borough’s best leaders when it comes to promoting inclusivity. 

“Pride is a time of celebration, reflection and remembrance,” said Gibson, who invoked the storied history of New York City’s LGBTQIA community — going back to the Stonewall uprising of 1969 — and activists who “made a difference when it wasn’t popular.” 

Photo Emily Swanson

Javier Medrano, a Mott Haven native who serves as director of LGBTQ and Latino Affairs for the office of Attorney General Letitia James, was honored at the event with a citation from the borough president. 

“I do think the Bronx is becoming more inclusive,” Medrano told the Bronx Times.

He credited the progress to strong partnerships between the state, borough president’s office and local organizations for LGBTQIA rights, such as Bronx-based Destination Tomorrow. 

Growing up,“I didn’t think I’d have this opportunity,” he said.

Also honored at the event were longtime BronxNet host Gary Axelbank, who received an ally award, and Clarisa Alaleto, chair of Community Board 1, who launched a new Committee on LGBTQIA Resources and Services under her tenure that began in December 2023. 

The flag raising is just one of several events honoring the LGBTQIA community throughout the month. The Bronx Pride Festival will be held June 22 from noon to 6 p.m., at Westchester Avenue between Brook and Bergen Avenues. In addition, Gibson said her office is hosting a party at Beatstro on June 14 and a march on June 22 from Borough Hall down to the Hub on East 149th Street. 

“We raise the flag so everyone in the Bronx can see we are about inclusivity,” said Gibson.

Reach Emily Swanson at eswanson@schnepsmedia.com or (646) 717-0015. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes