The Pride Flag is a symbol of equity and inclusion. It creates a safe space for people who are not defined by the majority, offering visibility and validation to those who have historically been marginalized because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It serves as a beacon of hope and acceptance, reminding individuals that they are not alone and that their identities are celebrated rather than condemned. Everyone should feel safe and celebrated in the Town of Holliston, MA.

When the Holliston Select Board chose to uphold the Holliston Flag Policy with one minor revision on March 5, 2024, it did so despite numerous public comments, 170 petition signatures, and multiple written statements that challenged this decision. The Select Board also missed an opportunity to further enhance the safety of the LGBTQ+ community, acting in discordance with Holliston’s FY25 Strategic Plan (“Together, we nurture a safe, vibrant, sustainable, and inclusive community with equitable opportunities so that all can thrive, while cultivating our past and future cultural resources.”)

Watch the video of Monday’s night’s meeting below or read the transcript.

Because of this policy, the Pride Flag will not be allowed to hang on Town Hall, the Holliston Library, or any other public property outside of the flagpole at Blair Square. Nor will any other flag besides those of the country, state, town, and POW/MIA.

We were inspired and moved by the many individuals who spoke with authenticity, humility, and bravery at the last two Select Board meetings. Despite their comments, the Select Board chose not to position Holliston as a leader in equity and change for the state and the nation.

Here are some of the key points raised by community members and disregarded by the Select Board (with timestamps displayed in orange):

  • Hanging the Pride flag at Town Hall is a symbol of support by the town of Holliston for LGBTQ+ people. Removing it when it was previously there makes members of this community feel less safe in this town (19:13),  (45:40).
  • The Pride flag is not just a “celebratory flag”. It stands for solidarity in an ongoing struggle for basic human rights by the LGBTQ+ community, whose rights and safety continue to be under attack across the nation (39:13).
  • Relegating the Pride flag to Blair Square and not allowing it on any other location in town harkens back to Montgomery, Alabama in the 1950s. It feels akin to the back of the bus. Separate is never equal (36:15).
  • Removing the Pride flag from the Holliston Library is a step in the wrong direction given the attacks on libraries across the country. (44:22)
  • Seeing the Pride flag on display at Town Hall and at the library has had a powerful positive impact on our town’s transgender children. Its removal sends an equally powerful negative message to our children and encourages those who don’t support them or the Pride flag (43:42), (1:40:51).
  • There is no case law preventing the Select Board from adopting alternative language proposed by  community members. A Holliston lawyer who specializes in constitutional law reaffirmed what has been stated many times over: the proposed language provides the town the same levels of protection, but with the addition of lifting up members of a marginalized community. She suggested that Holliston will be on the wrong side of history with this policy (40:40).

In response, the Select Board stated that they received emails from community members who agreed with their policy, and paraphrased some of these comments. However, no community members spoke in favor of the Select Board’s policy on Monday night. Only two expressed nominal support for it in February.

Please watch the full video of Monday’s meeting above. While it demonstrates a bleak portrayal of what happens when we speak truth to power, we hope it will inspire all of us to speak even louder.

Stay tuned for updates as we review our options from here, and please let us know if you’d like to help.