The Flap Over a Flag on Orcas Island

Comments

1
Orcas has to be the most colorful island in the San Juans now. I love the response. I hope the anonymous haters have permanent acid indigestion from now on.
2
Ha! So the result of a few homophobes not wanting the single flag up is that any businesses that don't actually want to fly it will now feel pressure to do so.
3
Flags are alright, but I appreciate trees moreso. Great focal point in that first photo. The leafy color blend is sweet.
4
It's CROW Valley Pottery, not CROWN Valley Pottery.
5
They're welcome to come to Lopez
6
Aw, that's great! What a great time for your first visit.
7
Shouldn't it be Grey Bears Baking?
8
@4 -- Fixed! Thanks.
9
Nice to have more detail and lots of good photos, Christopher. Thanks.

Been on Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands; now I have (more) reason to get out to Orcas Island on a future trip.
10
@2 - They did ask around to neighboring businesses, but where are you seeing the pressure? I'm not saying it's not there, but it's not here, in this post.
11
After you eat there, you can walk east a few minutes to Ship Bay beach and check out the sand dollar bed if it's low tide.

You'll need a shellfish license if you want to legally take any away with you (limit 10). It's not a legal public access, but there is nothing to physically stop you from walking out onto the sand from Crescent Beach Dr.
12
@9, I think you'll find it a very mellow spot. The local-locals are super down to earth, and many of the recent arrivals are good-natured retirees and quasi-retirees like the bakery fellas. The summers there are like butter (hello Camp Orkila), and the fall and winter are beautiful in their own way.
13
@7 I believe the correct term is "polar bears".

Either way, what a great, woofy couple!
14
What a wonderful story that kept me smiling (at a time when there are so many tragic reports of what the ANTI-equality forces are doing around the world). I was delighted by the fact that the flags have morphed from solely self-identification to self-association, thereby assuring that the anonymous bigots will never quite be sure whether they're stepping into one of those places.
15
What a great story and inspiration for other communities that are likely to face this same issue. Probably will never stop the haters from hating, but at least if they know they are outnumbered they might STFU.
16
Aha! Context! I was there a couple of weeks ago, and thought how great it was that Eastsound was awash with rainbow flags.
17
@10,

I would guess just unspoken pressure. Anyone not flying the flag at this point just kind of seems like an asshole, even if no one explicitly says so.
18
'm more pissed at the previous owners who refused to fly the American flag. Jesus, can't we run these communists out of town?
19
@17 - Yeah, social pressure is just kinda how social interaction works. I'm not going to get bent out of shape over someone maybe feeling some passive pressure to conform to something that no one is enforcing. The original problem was this couple being actively pressured to remove their flag. If someone starts asking around "Hey, why don't you have a rainbow flag up? Why are you being so homophobic?" that's a problem. This is not.
20
I'm completely the opposite: I *do* care that you're a bigot, and I want you to express it!

No, I don't like hearing the stupid, hateful ideas that bigots have. Like a spider in the room, I just want to know where they are so I can avoid them.
21
Good grief, I just don't understand bigots. Getting mad about a fucking rainbow flag is like being angry at the Canadian flag being flown at the Canadian consular residence. How dare you throw your Canadianness in my face! It's an outrage! This is America!
22
I wonder if the owners of the building to "conveyed" the request from the bigots were the bigots themselves. Maybe they were being really passive aggressive.

Regardless, it's so heartening to read this story. I kept smiling as I read. The homophobes and bigots lost this one...again. They are on the losing side of history. They are on the losing side of humanity.
23
@19,

Well, yeah, but I didn't take the comment at #2 to be saying it was a problem.
24
Ah, Y camp, @12. Happy memories of my own.

My only concern about visiting Orcas Island now is that I might be tempted to kick my shoes off, do a little light breaking-and-entering, maybe steal a plane or two.
25
I love this story so much. Whoever the anonymous asshole was, they sure hoist themselves on their own petard. Now instead of seeing just one rainbow flag, they have to see dozens. I hope it burns so hard.
26
@24, the store where Colton broke in and left his signature footprint is just up the block from this bakery!
27
Aesthetically, a rainbow flag can ruin a nice palette of earth tones. I eagerly await a day where homophobes don't harass gays to the point where they need to make garish statements of self to avoid being subsumed into heteronormative society.
28
I'm glad they put the flag back up. Taking it down didn't make sense; there was never a valid argument against the rainbow flag to begin with.

The anonymity objection is bullshit, though. Here's a crazy idea: how about you evaluate an argument based on its merits, rather than whether you can identify the person making it? If the argument is valid, concede whatever valid points it makes. If the argument is invalid, like this stupid argument against the rainbow flag, say so and stand your ground like a grownup. You don't need to know who's raising the issue in either case, period. I have never yet seen someone make the "oh, but I must wring my hands because someone who disagrees with me is anonymous" argument out of anything but a desire to intimidate dissenters. You can defeat the arguments without going after individuals for the purpose of intimidating them, _if_ you are in the right.
29
I spent nine months over two years housesitting and working at the former Christina's restaurant. Even though I may not have been on the island for that long, I'm proud to have been there. What a beautiful place to be!
30
Don't worry #27... this is Washington. The earth tones will always win.
31
Holy shit that was the paid-by-the-wordiest article ever on SLOG. Also fuck anyone not leaving alone these adorable gents and their flag.
32
@28 That's usually true but when the argument comes from a place of bigotry and intimidation, an otherwise open-minded community can get alarmed by anonymity. That's why the argument doesn't make sense: it's designed to belittle based on minority status, not discuss.
33
Great story, Christopher! David and Lee are such sweethearts! I moved to Orcas two years ago, and this whole kerfluffle has made me proud to be a new Orcasite (not an Orcasian - them that come and go). The building they are in has had several businesses in it since I've been here. It is tough in a tourist economy - but I'm confident these guys have the commitment, talent and taste to make it work...and they make THE BEST quiche I've ever tasted in my life. Made for real men - and women - of course! Come for the quiche, stay for the diversity and acceptance!
34
For some reason the SLOG calls me susie! But that comment #33, was made by me - Shannon Borg! :) weird.
35
Sold on going to their bakery and extra interest in Orcas vacationing now!!
36
I am glad that Orcas Islanders true colors finally came out. There are many new faces on Orcas today that may not know me but ask anyone that has been there for a while and they will tell you one thing. Orcas is a Island of Love and Harmony. We grow up protected from such thing for many years and now when push comes to shove the closed minded few are yet again forced to be humbled by those who really embrace the Island life style. We all who live there seemingly are laid back and carefree. But when the few self righteous members of our fare community single out another there is going to be swift and immediate action taking to resolve any and all discord with our Island Home.

I may live in Kirkland Wa. but I will forever be an Islander. My heart and soul will always call Orcas my home. Need said that I Nate Robbins help to build and establish a more tolerant and loving place to call home. If this is ever put to the fire like this last story it will not take Kevin Ranker to say something. I myself will return to make sure you all see the way things should be. Despite not living there now I will return one day to live out my days and when that happens I want there to be no threat to my way of life as should you all.

Thanks to all those that rallied to the help those in need and please always live as what you wish to be. True Islanders through and through. Community of Love, Peace and Harmony.

Your Brother at arms,

Nathan R. Robbins
Class of 1990 Orcas Island High
and a Truer Viking never will there be.

37
I am glad that Orcas Islanders true colors finally came out. There are many new faces on Orcas today that may not know me but ask anyone that has been there for a while and they will tell you one thing. Orcas is a Island of Love and Harmony. We grow up protected from such thing for many years and now when push comes to shove the closed minded few are yet again forced to be humbled by those who really embrace the Island life style. We all who live there seemingly are laid back and carefree. But when the few self righteous members of our fare community single out another there is going to be swift and immediate action taking to resolve any and all discord with our Island Home.

I may live in Kirkland Wa. but I will forever be an Islander. My heart and soul will always call Orcas my home. Need said that I Nate Robbins help to build and establish a more tolerant and loving place to call home. If this is ever put to the fire like this last story it will not take Kevin Ranker to say something. I myself will return to make sure you all see the way things should be. Despite not living there now I will return one day to live out my days and when that happens I want there to be no threat to my way of life as should you all.

Thanks to all those that rallied to the help those in need and please always live as what you wish to be. True Islanders through and through. Community of Love, Peace and Harmony.

Your Brother at arms,

Nathan R. Robbins
Class of 1990 Orcas Island High
and a Truer Viking never will there be.

38
@33,34 Nice try Susie.
39
I am glad that Orcas Islanders true colors finally came out. There are many new faces on Orcas today that may not know me but ask anyone that has been there for a while and they will tell you one thing. Orcas is a Island of Love and Harmony. We grow up protected from such thing for many years and now when push comes to shove the closed minded few are yet again forced to be humbled by those who really embrace the Island life style. We all who live there seemingly are laid back and carefree. But when the few self righteous members of our fare community single out another there is going to be swift and immediate action taking to resolve any and all discord with our Island Home.

I may live in Kirkland Wa. but I will forever be an Islander. My heart and soul will always call Orcas my home. Need said that I Nate Robbins help to build and establish a more tolerant and loving place to call home. If this is ever put to the fire like this last story it will not take Kevin Ranker to say something. I myself will return to make sure you all see the way things should be. Despite not living there now I will return one day to live out my days and when that happens I want there to be no threat to my way of life as should you all.

Thanks to all those that rallied to the help those in need and please always live as what you wish to be. True Islanders through and through. Community of Love, Peace and Harmony.

Your Brother at arms,

Nathan R. Robbins
Class of 1990 Orcas Island High
and a Truer Viking never will there be.

40
My partner and I just returned from Orcas and enjoyed the Brown Bear Baking Company. The chocolate chip cookies were amazing. We went back on Tuesday to grab a few for the return trip but they were closed. I'm going to contact them about an online distribution. I've been craving those cookies! We loved seeing the flags flying in town, and for the most part felt very accepted on the island.
41
haha, poor little bigots didn't get their way. so sad.
42
@27 Ugh. Earth tones are for straight men over 40.
43
I hope earth tones and rainbow tones blend together as nature intended them to.
44
Wow neat! I spent lots of summers on Orcas as a kid, but came back for a long weekending in mid-August for a wedding. While my girlfriend was getting ready and handling some prep work for the groom (it was her friend's wedding, I just tagged along) I decided to jet into town to find a pastry and have a wander and see what I remembered. I actually went in to Brown Bear out of exasperation as I was trying to find another bakery I'd read about, and got what turned out to be an exceptionally good lemon-poppyseed muffin: not too dry, not too moist, sweet but not dripping in caked-on sugar. I was pleasantly surprised. I knew nothing of this whole ordeal on the island, although I remember seeing the flag and not thinking anything of it (I live on capitol hill) - indeed, I was more excited by the Cascadia flag flying over the kayak rental joint down by the bay! If I'd known about all this beforehand, I would have been sure to high five their cashier and thank them for not backing down in the face of cowardly haters!
45
Great Story that really affirms the way this community comes together. If some business owners felt like they had to fly a flag to be part of it, even if they did not want to, that is on them. No one would have judged them for not doing it. There is not a whole lot of "go along to get along" here, and doing your own thing is generally respected. Really happy to read how this whole thing worked out. Living at the far end of the island I sometimes miss out on the town goings on, but my fellow Island Dwellers came through.
46
Thats sweet! Too bad that flug is all kinds of the worst flag ever created. NO APPEAL, NO INTERESTING STUFF, NO CHARACTER. Yeah yeah pride, we don't need a flag, I would much rather us have a symbol or something. Also a symbol could be a decal in a window foreverz.
47
I was told that someone flew to Orcas to buy pottery but left because of the flag... I seriously doubt that it is true, but if it is... fine... that is their perogative... we don't have to cater to their insecurities here... I love the flag and love the bakery.. ( best quiche I have ever inhaled) and I love the people of the island... and I especially love the openminded loving hearts of the people....
48
Hey, we were on Orcas over the Labor Day Holiday. We were in the Brown Bear Bakery and bought some yummy muffins to go. (The chocolate ones are terrific.) What a great story. Wish this would happen in Houston......
49
The local paper, The Sounder, did get a bitchy letter from some tourists who visited while all the flags were flying.http://www.islandssounder.com/opinion/le…
I'm glad to hear here so many people excited to visit and support the island because of this. The locals live and die with with tourism.
Also, regarding pressure on the bigot business owners, the local gossip is that the bookstore owner was asked to fly the flag and refused. Some people have decided not to shop there anymore.
50
What a great story, outstanding in its detail. Yes the rainbow flag is kinda tacky in its colors but it stands for something to be proud of - good people and, in this case, a good bakery. Thanks for surviving that horrible accident and going on to help create an island I enjoy more with every visit. BTW to be fair, anonymity and nom de plumes don't really bother me, many of our Founding Fathers used them in the disseminaton of strong politcal views. No one wants to be pillored for their opinions (which they have a right to) and it's more than a little ingenuous to act as if it cannot be understood or is cowardly.
51
I spent 6 years on Orcas, and this sounds like Orcas! The anonymous complainers may be the remnants left of the old "native" islanders (i.e., not native American!) many of whom just cannot stand change of any kind. Fortunately, they are in the minority. Yay for Orcas!
52
Excellent story of bravery and honesty clobbering cowardice and hate. Good luck to the Brown Bear Barking pair and all these many ethical businesspeople on Orcas Island!
53
Silly protestor, Rainbow flags aren't 'gay' flags.... they represent diversity..... like the harmonious, diverse community rallying around the Bears Bakery owners!
Remember many wonderful trips to Orchas Island when I lived in Seattle.
Now I live on the Big gay Island (Hawaii). Come visit anytime. With or without your flags.
Viva diverstity!
54
Great story and my best to David and Lee, and their straight but not narrow allies