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Flag-raising ceremony kicks off Pride month in Monterey

 The intersex progress Pride flag seen flying below the Monterey city flag outside Monterey City Hall.
Jonathan Linden
The intersex progress Pride flag seen flying below the Monterey city flag outside Monterey City Hall.

The city of Monterey joined several other local cities that kicked off Pride month by raising Pride flags on Thursday.

June 1 marks the start of Pride month, a tradition that spawned after the 1969 Stonewall Riot in New York City. To kick off the month-long celebration, the city of Monterey held a Pride flag-raising ceremony.

Monterey Mayor Tyller Williamson was the master of ceremonies for the event. “It's so important for us to show this visible symbol of support. It's essential and critical,” he said.

Williamson was elected mayor last November and became the first openly gay person to hold the seat.

While the city has displayed the Pride flag in prior years, this is the first time it’s held a flag-raising ceremony to celebrate the start of Pride month. Willamson says the ceremony is important because it helps create visibility for the LGBTQ+ community — especially in this moment.

“We're still seeing anti-LGBTQ plus legislation happening throughout the country, even within the state of California,” he said.

Melanie Zaragoza co-chairs the non-profit Monterey Peninsula Pride. Her group will be hosting a Monterey Pride event in July.

Zaragoza says the city's culture is predominantly straight. “So having queer spaces may seem nuanced to some people, but it's so important to Queer people to walk into a room and not be othered,” she said.

Monterey’s Pride event isn’t until July 15, but other local cities are already celebrating. Santa Cruz kicks off a weekend of Pride festivities today — including a parade Sunday at 11 a.m.

Other Monterey Bay area cities to hold Pride flag-raising ceremonies include Santa Cruz, Salinas, and Pacific Grove.

List of local Pride events

Jonathan Linden was a reporter at 90.3 KAZU in Seaside, Calif. He served at the station from Oct. 2022 to July 2023.