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Measure to Clarify Neighborhood's Brand Receives Support from Across Political Spectrum

"It's a mark of distinction. We want people to know who we are."

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WONDERING WHY THERE ARE SO MANY SONGS ABOUT RAINBOWS, CORNER OF NORMAL AND UNIVERSITY - “In the past," says Billy Nickels, "what the rainbow flag has represented hasn’t been accepted. We’re saying it’s important to recognize it and its message in as strong a way as possible. It’s about saying a message that the gay community takes pride in itself. That we belong here. We want people to be able to identify who we are and where we live."

That's why Nickels and the rest of the Gays Have Equality Through Territory Organization (GHETTO) have proposed a three-point identification program for Hillcrest's proud residents. First, a huge flag that would fly high over the neighborhood, alerting travelers to the presence of gays from as far as three miles away. "The flag would admittedly be too large to be appreciated from within the neighborhood itself," says Nickels. "But that's not really the point."

Second, a rainbow arm patch that could be sewn onto a jacket and worn whenever Hillcrest residents traveled outside the neighborhood. ("Because it's a rainbow, it goes with everything," jokes Nickels.)

And third, rainbow-shaped gates over all streets running into Hillcrest, "to let people know they've crossed over into the Tolerance Zone - a place where everyone is free to discover their true worth."

The measure will be considered by the Planning Commission sometime this spring.

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