Raising LGBTQ+ Visibility in Marin One Flag At A Time
Help LGBTQ+ youth by raising visibility
The Marin Flag Project was started in 2021 after Pride flags were torn down off the Sir Francis Drake Blvd overpass five times last June.
Our goal is to increase the number of Pride flags displayed in Marin to show our support for LGBTQ+ youth. We reach out to businesses, organizations, and schools to fly flags or put up flyers in their storefronts during Pride Month. Help us show our LGBTQ+ youth that Marin is welcoming!
How to Help
Why is flying a Pride flag important?
Does flying a Pride flag actually help? The research says “yes!”
According to the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, “The public visibility and presence of the symbol help young people feel better, find resources, identify supportive individuals and feel belonging to the larger communities...The display of rainbows is one of the.. conditions that help young people in their positive identity development.” Even in a community where LGBTQ+ people are generally accepted, self-discovery is still an extremely nerve-wracking process, and not all youth will be supported if they choose to come out. At the same time, Marin is not very visible in their support, which needs to change because, “LGBTQ youth who had access to spaces that affirmed their sexual orientation and gender identity reported lower rates of attempting suicide” according to the 2021 Trevor Project report.
42% of LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year.
The Trevor Project
Why this year?
The isolation that COVID-19 has caused has hit LGBTQ+ youth especially hard. The Trevor Project found that 70% of LGBTQ+ youth stated that their mental health was “poor” most of the time or always. In fact, 42% of LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth. Meanwhile, more than 80% of LGBTQ+ youth stated that COVID-19 made their living situation more stressful-— and only 1 in 3 LGBTQ+ youth found their home to be LGBTQ+-affirming. Quarantine has cut youth’s ties with local support groups and increased exposure to unaccepting family members. Problems that do arise go unnoticed to the public because their situation has become invisible.
LGBTQ+ youth can also see that people like them are increasingly targeted in hate crimes and incidents. In California, hate crimes involving sexual orientation bias increased 24% between 2015 and 2019 (Office of the Attorney General - California Department of Justice). The Southern Poverty Law Center, SPLC, currently tracks 10 known anti-LGBTQ+ hate groups in California, and the most recent FBI hate crimes report shows that hate crimes based on sexual orientation represent the third-largest category after race and religion. Marin is not immune, and LGBTQ+ targeted hate incidents are on the rise in our own community.
Nearly 1 in 6 Marin youth will likely identify as LGBTQ+ before they finish high school. On average, youth are age 12 when they first feel they might not be straight-- but 27% are under 10, 14% when between the ages of 11 and 14, and 19% between ages 15 to 19. More of our Gen Z youth self-identify as LGBTQ+ than in older generations- approximating 1 in 6 - according to a recent Gallup poll.
Pride celebrations, typically a major aspect of youth creating community as they come out, were canceled last year and are still limited this year due to the pandemic. Without these welcoming celebrations, it’s on us to bring the welcoming energy of Pride to our Marin youth instead.
1 in 6 youth identify as LGBTQ+
“Openness may not completely disarm prejudice, but it’s a good place to start.”