No Pride Flags Flying in Williamson County

WilCo commissioners deny request to fly both LGBTQ and POW flags at county buildings

No Pride Flags Flying in Williamson County
Photo by David Brendan Hall

In an unsurprising outcome, the Williamson County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, June 18, denied a request to fly the LGBTQ Pride flag outside two county facilities. WilCo Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace KT Mus­sel­man and Pct. 4 JP Stacy Hackenberg made the request, along with asking permission to fly the POW/MIA flag the week of Veterans Day in November. This, too, was denied. County Judge Bill Gravell opened the item for public comment with a reminder to "be kind" in his presence because "nice matters," then proceeded to let one speaker voice her opinion that LGBTQ youth commit suicide at higher rates due to their "unnatural" way of life. Gravell and the court ultimately decided to reject the JPs' request not because of the subject of the flags, but because they had no procedures in place to decide what flags wouldn't be allowed in the future. While only three people spoke in support – including local politico and LGBTQ activist Zach Rodriguez, who currently works in Hackenberg's office – the conversation itself signifies an air of change in the county, which a slice of Austin calls home. As Rodriguez said during his public comment, referencing a former boyfriend who "wouldn't hold my hand in Taylor because he was afraid of getting killed," the request was not intended to divide the county, but "unite" it. But for now, commissioners agreed by a vote of 4-0 that only the WilCo flag could be flown (on its own pole) alongside the U.S. and Texas flags at county buildings. Gravell, who posted polls on Facebook and Twitter asking WilCo residents if they were "in favor" of adding the rainbow flag, said thousands of people responded – on Facebook, he said, 88% of people were opposed. However, he failed to note that on Twitter, 81% of responders supported flying the flag.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Austin LGBTQ
Despite Protests, Leander's Drag Queen Story Hour Will Go On
Despite Protests, Leander's Drag Queen Story Hour Will Go On
Local church saves event

Megan Menchaca, June 14, 2019

InfoWars Crashes Drag Storytime in Austin
InfoWars Crashes Drag Storytime in Austin
Alt-right rags want to end LGBTQ-inclusive children's events

Sarah Marloff, June 14, 2019

More by Sarah Marloff
Death Watch: 11 Face Execution in Coming Months
Death Watch: 11 Face Execution in Coming Months
A quiet summer gives way to a deadly fall

Aug. 16, 2019

Qmmunity: Queers Who Inspire Us
Qmmunity: Queers Who Inspire Us
Plus trans-centric theatre, queer comedy, and the return of aGLIFF

Aug. 16, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Austin LGBTQ, Williamson County Commissioners Court, Bill Gravell, Pride Month, KT Musselman, Stacy Hackenberg, Zach Rodriguez

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Time to vote! Best of Austin 2019 balloting is underway   VOTE NOW