The Mark Hopkins Hotel on Nob Hill now has a bigger Pride Flag — and a Progress Pride Flag at that — than the Castro's flying atop the building. And the Beacon Grand's is even bigger.

Yes, atop the legendary Top of the Mark, flying on the flagpole high above Nob Hill, there is a 20-foot-by-38-foot Progress Pride Flag, and the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins is even touting the fact that their new flag beats out the Castro's famous, outsized rainbow flag by eight feet.

KTVU reported on the flag Wednesday morning but it's been up for a couple of weeks now, along with an even more enormous Progress Pride Flag down the side of the Beacon Grand Hotel a few blocks away at Union Square (formerly known as the Sir Francis Drake).

The Beacon Grand put out a press release about their flag, reported to be 3,000 square feet, which has been hanging vertically down the side of the hotel since early June, in which they also announced special room packages and promotional Pride cocktails and sweets in the hotel bar.

Rebranding as "A Beacon of Love and Inclusivity" for the month, the hotel says they are "proud to stand with the LGBTQ+ community this June and always."

Photo: Rachel Ayotte

Pride month has of course been coopted as just another holiday season for corporations to use for marketing — and pandering — to a particular community, in this case the queer community. And while this may be nicer than being shunned and vilified by society at large, as we were in decades' past, maybe we shouldn't be trying to out-flag each other for attention?

The Castro's enormous rainbow flag is joined during Pride month by the smaller flags on lampposts that go up all the way down Market Street at the beginning of June. There was some argument in 2021 about potentially replacing the Castro's traditional rainbow flag with the Progress Pride Flag — which many consider to symbolize inclusivity of trans people and people of color — but the rainbow flag remains and is under consideration to be landmarked, as it stands.

The original flag, created by a friend of Harvey Milk, Gilbert Baker, had eight stripes and was intended to serve as an image of pride for the queer community. (The Bay Area Reporter has detailed how Baker's friends Lynn Segerblom and James McNamara also played a role in creating the flag. McNamara died of AIDS-related complications in 1999, and Baker died unexpectedly at age 65 in 2017.)

"The flag was first revealed at the 1978 Gay Freedom Day Parade in San Francisco," Supervisor Rafael Mandelman explained at a Board of Supervisors meeting last month, introducing the landmark ordinance, per the Bay Area Reporter. "Color shortages necessitated the removal of the pink and turquoise stripes from subsequent flags and the blue was changed to a different shade. The updated 1979 Gilbert Baker rainbow flag includes six colors and has since become and iconic, internationally recognized representation of freedom, equality and LGBTQ+ pride."

The oversized version in the Castro has been flying at Harvey Milk Plaza since November 8, 1997. It was first raised to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Milk's election to the Board of Supervisors.