The Pride celebrations in Easton kicked off with a flag raising ceremony. Events honoring the LGBTQ+ community will continue through the weekend.

About 75 LGBTQ+ community members and supporters met in front of Town Hall for the second annual Pride flag raising in observance of Pride month. The flag will fly until sundown on Monday, June 28.

The program included an introduction by one of the event organizers, Hilary Desmond, who read a welcome letter from Agnes and Jack Bebon, who were unable to attend. The flag was raised as Whendi Broderick sang “True Colors.” Elliot Leonard, a Pride activist and philanthropist, spoke of Easton’s progress toward greater awareness and tolerance. First Selectman David Bindelglass observed that “we can all be Americans, we can all be Eastonites, and we can all be individuals” and he added, “These things all go together.”

State Representative Anne Hughes and State Senator Tony Hwang read an official celebration of Pride citation from the State of Connecticut. Hughes amplified the words of the citation saying, “The Pride community belongs to Easton and celebrates you.” Hwang suggested that we all “practice support and love in our hearts” and he applauded Easton’s progress in that goal. The Rev Ally Brundige of Christ Church recalled the origin of the rainbow flag when Harvey Milk sought a symbol of unity.

There was a common theme in the speakers’ expressions of support for the LGBTQ+ community and all marginalized communities. A video of the full ceremony will be available on Channel 79 in the next few days.

The location of the town flagpole for this event became a source of controversy last month. Traditionally, the flagpole in front of Town Hall is reserved for the American flag, Connecticut state flag, and the Easton town flag. 

During public comment at both the June 3 and June 17 Board of Selectmen meetings, a substantial majority of Easton residents supported the Pride community and the flag-raising at Town Hall. Those who did not argued that though they supported the LGBTQ+ community, they felt that the American flag was all-inclusive. 

As a result of various suggestions from residents, the board agreed to explore alternative locations for special interest flags, or possibly a trident flag similar to the those in neighboring towns.

This year, however, the mood at the flag-raising was festive and upbeat. It is the first of three Pride events in town. Eastonites are invited to a family event at Morehouse Park at the Samual Staples Elementary School pavilion on Saturday, June 26, from 1 to 4 p.m. where a program of activities will highlight local pride resources, pride books, yard games and music in celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. For additional information updates, follow Easton Pride on Facebook.

On Sunday evening at 6:30, Concerts on the Hill celebrates Pride at Christ Church.

Event organizer Hilary Desmond welcomed the crowd at the second annual Pride flag raising.
The Pride flag was hoisted on the town flagpole by Elliott Leonard, David Bindelglass and Tony Hwang.
Whendi Broderick serenaded the crowd and led the group in singing “True Colors” as the Pride flag was raised.
First Selectman David Bindelglass spoke of the need for inclusivity in Easton.
Selectman Bob Lessler joined in the festivities with his wife, Debbie, and their two grand dogs.
Elliott Leonard spoke of Easton’s progress.
State Rep. Anne Hughes and state Sen.Tony Hwang celebrated the Pride community by reading a citation from the state in praise of Easton’s Pride events.
The Rev. Ally Brundige offered a fitting benediction to the pride flag-raising ceremony.
Left to right, sRep. Anne Hughes, First Selectman David Bindelglass, state Sen. Tony Hwang, Hillary Desmond and Elliott Leonard celebrate Easton’s second Pride flag-raising at town hall. All photos Jane Paley.
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