A divided West Tisbury select board voted Wednesday to display the Progress flag during the month of June, which is celebrated internationally as Pride Month.

The flag is already flying over the Edgartown courthouse and will soon be seen in other Island towns, NAACP of Martha’s Vineyard president Arthur Hardy-Doubleday told the Gazette Monday.

“As a person who grew up on Martha’s Vineyard and didn’t come out of the closet until I was about to graduate from law school, I think it’s important that this community show outwardly its acceptance,” Mr. Hardy-Doubleday said Wednesday at the West Tisbury select board meeting.

Designed in 2018 by Oregon artist Daniel Quasar, the Progress flag adds five chevrons, representing transsexual and non-binary people, communities of color and people living with AIDS/HIV, to the rainbow flag that has become the symbol of LGBTQ rights around the world.

“I just hope that, by raising this flag over town hall, that there will be youth that will look at it and understand that the community accepts them,” Mr. Hardy-Doubleday told the select board.

Jennelle Gadowski, who chairs the NAACP’s subcommittee on LGBTQ issues, said the flag is also a way of honoring pioneers in the struggle for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

“There have been so many trailblazers,” she said. “We wouldn’t be able to be out, proud and here today without them. It’s so important and pivotal that we honor them with this.”

Ms. Gadowski also reinforced Mr. Hardy-Doubleday’s remarks about signaling acceptance to LGBTQ youth, whom she said are at higher risk of social marginalization and homelessness.

“That flag is a reminder that they are accepted and they are welcomed … on this Island,” Ms. Gadowski said, as she described the encouragement she feels when she passes a private home that displays both Black Lives Matter and Pride flags.

“I want to bring that feeling of comfort and security and hope to all our community members, whether they are out or not,” she said.

West Tisbury select board member Kent Healy objected to the proposal, citing the non-governmental nature of the Progress flag.

“I would encourage their efforts, but I think only the town, state or national flag should be raised on a town flagpole,” Mr. Healy said.

However, town administrator Jennifer Rand said she and her staff were unable to find any rules that back Mr. Healy’s preference.

“It would appear that provided the American flag is, one, on top and two, no smaller,” other flags may be flown, Ms. Rand said.

“We couldn’t find any other regulations about town property and flags,” she said.

Board member Cynthia Mitchell backed the NAACP request, noting that the board has a diversity and inclusion policy.

“We stood solidly behind our diversity statement, and I think it’s absolutely the right thing to do to fly the flag as well,” Ms. Mitchell said.

Board chair Skipper Manter wavered, saying he was concerned that other groups and organizations would follow with more flag requests.

“I have no problem flying the (Progress) flag, but because it’s a public place … if we allow one, it’s challenging to say no,” Mr. Manter said.

But the Progress flag is different because it does not represent the interests of any single constituency, town moderator Daniel Waters told the board.

“We’re not talking about a group or organization here,” Mr. Waters said. “We’re talking about a segment of the community …This is a part of the fabric of the community.”

A longtime West Tisbury resident, Mr. Waters said he has always felt accepted in the town and would like to share that sense of security with younger LGBTQ Islanders.

“If was Jenelle’s age and I saw that flag flying outside West Tisbury town hall, I would know this is my home and I would feel safe,” Mr. Waters said.

His words appeared to sway Mr. Manter, who cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of flying the Progress flag at town hall and also on an outside wall at the West Tisbury Library, which has no flagstaff.

The library flag was installed Monday afternoon, library director Alexandra Pratt told the Gazette.

“It would've meant a lot to me as a kid in a small New England town to see Pride flags flying from public buildings,” Ms. Pratt wrote in an email. “(G)lad we can do this!”

The Progress flag will also fly at West Tisbury School, Mr. Hardy-Doubleday said by email Monday. The Chilmark and Oak Bluffs libraries are also committed and Aquinnah will fly the flag at its library and town hall, he said.

The Vineyard Haven library has an interior display case for the flag, Mr. Hardy-Doubleday said, and permission is pending from Tisbury town hall. The Martha’s Vineyard Museum will also fly the Progress flag, he said.

The flag request comes before the Oak Bluffs select board Tuesday, Mr. Hardy-Doubleday said.