Representives of Wilton Pride said the folllowing letter was submitted to the members of the Board of Selectmen, and they asked GMW to share the letter with its readers.
To the Members of the Board of Selectmen, Town of Wilton:
As more and more towns in Fairfield County actively show their support for the LGBTQ+ community through official proclamations, Wilton Pride once again requests that the Wilton Board of Selectmen offer a Pride Proclamation annually during Pride Month.
Wilton Pride understands the criterion for offering a town proclamation — that the topic directly relates to the work of town municipal departments — and we believe that supporting the LGBTQ+ community meets this standard.
According to America’s Pride Proclamation from 2022, “A Proclamation on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, And Intersex Pride Month,” 45% of American LGBTQ+ youth have seriously contemplated suicide in the last year. While this statistic is terrifying, we also know from the Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ+ Youth Mental Health found that “LGBTQ+ youth who lived in an accepting community, had access to LGBTQ-affirming spaces, and/or felt high social support from family and friends reported significantly lower rates of attempting suicide in the past year.” Therefore, Wilton has a responsibility to take decisive action to support the mental health of our LGBTQ+ youth.
In Wilton, the mental health struggles for LGBTQ+ residents directly engage Wilton Police, EMS and Social Services. This use of services mirrors those for domestic violence, drug abuse, sexual assault and gun violence, four of the five current annual proclamations in Wilton. Wilton Pride argues that generic inclusion in the Civility, Respect and Understanding Proclamation insufficiently addresses such an important issue and that a specific Pride Proclamation properly demonstrates our town’s commitment to respecting, supporting and welcoming those Wilton residents within the LGBTQ+ community.
Wilton’s leadership can look to our neighboring cities and towns for inspiration about how best to celebrate and support the LGBTQ+ community and the profound impact on the whole community:
Ridgefield: Rudy Marconi, Ridgefield’s First Selectman, said, “By displaying the Pride Progress flag at Ridgefield Town Hall during Pride Month, Ridgefield celebrates the LGBTQIA+ members of our community and shows solidarity with ongoing struggles for human rights and human dignity.”
Westport: Jennifer Tooker, First Selectwoman of Westport, issued a proclamation saying, “Everyone — no matter who you are or who you love — has a place in Westport.”
Easton: First Selectman Dr. David Bindelglass said at Easton’s Pride flag raising in 2020, “It is important that we celebrate our diversity in this town and our understanding of each other as the individuals that we are regardless of our backgrounds. This flag belongs here, we belong here! We are all together in this and we are a wonderful community as such.”
Shelton: Similarly, at Shelton’s first flag raising and proclamation by Mayor Mark Lauretti in 2021, Jimmy Tickey, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, said, “Some may wonder, why do we need pride? Because for too many for too long, they live in the shadows. And because there’s a young person wondering if it gets better, and it does. Being you, all of you, is a beautiful thing everyone should feel.”
Please consider offering an annual Pride Proclamation starting in June 2023 to state clearly that Wilton is a welcoming and supportive space to members of the LGBTQ+ community.