This article initially ran on Advocate.com. Read the original here.
A rainbow lifeguard tower in Long Beach, Calif., burned down early Tuesday, and the mayor suspects it to be an "act of hate."
Firefighters responded to the flames just after midnight. And now an investigation into its origins has been opened, according to Long Beach Marine Safety Chief Gonzalo Medina.
“The tower served as a symbol of our strong support for diversity within our ranks and the LGBTQ community who call Long Beach home,” Medina said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “The tower will be replaced and repainted by lifeguards.”
The tower had been painted rainbow colors by LGBTQ+ lifeguards in honor of Pride Month. Mayor Robert Garcia, who is gay, said on Twitter that he had "little doubt" that its destruction was a criminal act. But he also had a message for the possible perpetrator: "To whoever committed this act, we will rebuild it better and brighter."
Long Beach is one of the country's most LGBTQ-friendly places. The Human Rights Campaign gave the SoCal city a perfect score of 100 in a ranking of protections and services provided to the community. However, the destruction of the rainbow tower in a queer destination still left locals shaken.