A progress pride flag flies in the wind below an U.S. flag outside of the Hurff Ackerman Saunders Federal Building on Monday evening. Last week the flag was raised for the first time by members of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and will remain up through the month of June. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

A progress pride flag flies in the wind below an U.S. flag outside of the Hurff Ackerman Saunders Federal Building on Monday evening. Last week the flag was raised for the first time by members of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and will remain up through the month of June. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

LGBTQ+ pride flag raised at federal building sparks backlash, support

Varying reactions to the flag that was raised for the first time outside the building.

A progress pride flag was raised for the first time outside of the Hurff Ackerman Saunders Federal Building in downtown Juneau last week by members of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Alaska Region. The flag sits just below the U.S. flag and will remain there throughout the month of June for Pride Month.

The progress pride flag symbolizes the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community, including trans and non-binary individuals, along with marginalized communities of color. NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce, which just last year along with the General Services Administration issued guidance for agencies that occupy DOC or GSA space — or employee groups within those agencies — to have permission to fly a pride flag.

Because NOAA occupies space in the federal building, that meant it could raise a flag under that guidance and did so. Since the flag was raised in Juneau and featured in an article last week, the Empire has received responses both criticizing and supporting the flag being flown on government property.

Under DOC and GSA guidance, hundreds have been raised across the country both last June and now. Just last week Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo raised one and spoke during the ceremony.

“With this flag, we’re reaffirming our support for the LGBTQI+ members of the Commerce team, and the Biden administration’s commitment to building a more inclusive society for all Americans,” Raimondo said.

However, lawmakers in states like Florida have proposed legislation to ban the amount that can be raised, stating ​​in a bill “no other flag may be exposed to public view…by a governmental agency, local government, or unit of local government.”

Kristin Mabry, NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region learning officer, said the organization had been working towards flying the pride flag for the month of June at the federal building since February, saying that doing so was in keeping with guidance from the DOC and the GSA. She said it would have been flown last June, if they had found out about the requirements and the process in time.

She said the Alaska Regional Office has a team that is focused on inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility, and raising the flag was something that they wanted to pursue.

“Our region has shared values — respect, integrity, collaboration, accountability, and open communication — and everybody in our region that I’ve talked to or had any kind of interaction with has been 100% supportive of this,” she said. “It’s hard to find the words, but I guess I would go back to the shared values that our region has collectively established for how we work together, and flying the pride flag is a visual example of us living by those shared values.”

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651)-528-1807.

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of June 22

Here’s what to expect this week.

Participants in a pro-choice abortion rally gather outside the Governor’s Residence on Saturday to demand a pro-life flag flying at the entrance be taken down. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Pro-choice abortion protesters march to Governor’s Residence to demand removal of pro-life flag

Rally on second anniversary of U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision also focuses on fall election.

Eddie Petrie shovels gravel into a mine cart as fast as possible during the men’s hand mucking competition as part of Juneau Gold Rush Days on Saturday at Savikko Park. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Mucking, trucking, chucking and yukking it up at Juneau Gold Rush Days

Logging competitions, live music, other events continue Sunday at Savikko Park.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, June 20, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Pins supporting the repeal of ranked choice voting are seen on April 20 at the Republican state convention in Anchorage. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
State judge upholds most fines against group seeking repeal of Alaska ranked choice voting

An Anchorage Superior Court judge has ruled that opponents of Alaska’s ranked… Continue reading

Joshua Midgett and Kelsey Bryce Riker appear on stage as the emcees for MixCast 2023 at the Crystal Saloon. (Photo courtesy Juneau Ghost Light Theatre)
And now for someone completely different: Familiar faces show new personas at annual MixCast cabaret

Fundraiser for Juneau Ghost Light Theatre on Saturday taking place amidst week of local Pride events

Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire
A section of Angoon along the coast is seen on June 14. Angoon was destroyed by the U.S. Navy in 1882; here is where they first pulled up to shore.
Long-awaited U.S. Navy apology for 1882 bombardment will bring healing to Angoon

“How many times has our government apologized to any American Native group?”

Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon announced this week she plans to seek a third three-year term. (Juneau Empire file photo)
Mayor Beth Weldon seeking third term amidst personal and political challenges

Low mill rate, more housing cited by lifelong Juneau resident as achievements during past term.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, June 19, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read