The Symbol of Pride

Hey y’all! Pride Month continues and lots to write about.

Today though I’m writing to work through some thoughts on the new Philly Pride Flag which has added brown and black stripes to represent the LGBTQIA POC community.

First, a little history:

The first Pride Flag was flown in 1978 in the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade.

It was designed by Gilbert Baker after he was challenged to create a symbol for the LGBT community to rally around, by LGBTQIA activist and the first openly gay politician elected to public office, Harvey Milk.

The flag originally had 8 colors:

Hot Pink: Sexuality

Red: Life

Orange: Healing

Yellow: Sunlight

Green: Nature

Turquoise: Magic/Art

Indigo/Blue: Serenity/Harmony

Violet: Spirit

It has taken several versions over the years:

-7 color flag (hot pink was removed due to fabric availability)

-6 color flag (turquoise was removed to allow for an even number of colors for display purposes)

-A black stripe at the bottom to address AIDS/HIV in the late 80s and 90s

-The star field from the US Flag was added and used often during the DADT (Don’t Ask Don’t Tell) time frame

-And now adding a brown and black stripe to acknowledge the LGBTQIA POC community:

More Color More Pride from Hello Tierney on Vimeo.

All that being said, there are a few thoughts I’m working through:

-I am proud that it is continuing to address societal concerns in our community and now it’s time to address racism

-I ask that all be aware that there are individuals beyond just black and brown LGBTQIA in the community such as EAST ASIAN LGBTQIA individuals that are not able to be visibly represented (and often not represented at all in general in the community) in this now racially inclusive Pride Flag

-Does adding race into a symbol of sexual orientation and gender identity change the purpose and meaning of the Pride Flag?

-Is it time for a whole new symbol of inclusivity and community that addresses all identities and sub-communities within the LGBTQIA community?

-Is it even possible to have a single symbol that everyone can rally around as the LGBTQIA community?

As I process all this and regardless any answers to the above ponderings, it is both a moment of pride and a moment of pause.

A symbol I’ve rallied around as a gay identified individual now encourages me to rethink about where and how I fit into the community and what role I can play as an East Asian gay adopted male in an interracial relationship. Its both exciting and daunting and gives me pause to think whether there is a place for me as my full self or if I will have to code switch between sub-communities within the LGBTQIA community, as I have already begun to do.

It is a needed change in that we can no longer just find community through one identity. As we have learned, intersectionality is key to understanding others and moving forward. We must consider all the layers and identities of each individual.  But how do we create a unifying symbol of this without forgetting others or excluding others?

Just some ponderings I’m working through, thanks for muddling through all this with me!

Happy Pride everyone!

Until next time,

Peace, Love and Pandas!


Published by Brian

I am currently the Assistant Director of Student Life for Registered Student Organizations and Late-Night Programming at Michigan State University. After earning my B.A. from the University of Michigan-Flint, I entered the Student Affairs profession. After a few years in the field, I returned to school and earned my M.A. in Educational Leadership-Higher Education Student Affairs from Eastern Michigan University. In my spare time I blog about my thoughts and musings on current issues in higher education, student affairs, digital worlds, identity development and general life inspirations and observations. I also volunteer a lot for my fraternity and multiple regional and national professional associations.

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