Rainbow flag in front of Congress building burned down; LGBTQ community outraged

Vice Speaker Tina Muna Barnes stands beside the burnt Pride flag in front of the Congress building in Hagatna. (Contributed photo)

The rainbow flag planted in front of the Guam Congress building in honor of Pride Month has been burned down.

Vice Speaker Tina Rose Muna Barnes has condemned the burning, saying she was appalled by what happened.

“The burning of the Pride flag is unacceptable. This is not what we stand for as Islander people. I’ve instructed our sergeant at arms to call the police department, I understand that the chief of police is sending a representative down,” Barnes said.

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She added: “I want the LGBTQ community to know that this cannot happen in our island community. I am just appalled by all this.”

The vice speaker has promised to check all the surveillance cameras around the Congress building and the Legislature’s own cameras to find out who’s behind the burning.

Lasia Casil, the founder and president of Guam Pride, organized a rally Monday afternoon in front of the Guam Congress Building supporting the LGBTQ community against hate and bigotry and to replant the Pride Flag.

“I can’t communicate just how upsetting this is. This is a cowardly act of hate and violence against our LGBTQ community here on Guam. Sometimes, it feels like we’ve taken two steps forward and one step back. Acts of hate like this are nothing new to our community but we are strong, resilient and we refuse to be pushed back into a dark closet, especially during a time when we are reflecting and celebrating all those that have come before us and made sacrifices and upon whose shoulders we stand in our fight for equality,” Casil stated.

She added: “We have come so far, yet we still have so far to go. This is why we cannot let this discourage us. We must rise higher and stronger than before.”