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Hillcrest Pride Flag flies at half staff in remembrance of José Julio Sarria

SAN DIEGO -- The Hillcrest Pride Flag is flying at half staff this week to commemorate the life of José Julio Sarria, who died Monday at the age of 91.

Sarria, considered to be an American gay-rights pioneer, is known to have paved the way for LGBT civil rights icon Harvey Milk's political career. While Milk was the first openly gay elected official in the country, Sarria was the first openly gay person to put his name on a ballot, unsuccessfully running for San Francisco City & County Supervisor in 1961.

More about Sarria's life is HERE.

The Hillcrest Pride Flag is maintained by the Hillcrest Business Association, which decided Monday afternoon to lower the flag to half staff in honor of Sarria.

Eddie Rey, one of HBA's board members, said he suggested the idea to the board because he felt it would be a fitting tribute for a man who lived his life openly, with pride and in service of others for over five decades.

"As a pioneer of LGBT rights he was the first openly LGBT person to run for public office, holding its closet doors wide open so that others like Harvey Milk could follow after," Rey said.

The flag will remain at half staff for the rest of the week.

On Friday, the rainbow flag will be replaced with a Leather Pride flag in honor of San Diego Leather Pride Weekend, taking place Aug. 23-25.

A ceremony and celebration of the Leather Pride flag raising will take place Friday at 3 pm.

The Hillcrest Pride Flag and Monument is located on Normal Street at University Avenue.