At the start of June 2017, the City of Philadelphia unveiled a new Pride Flag with the addition of the colors brown and black representing LGBTQIA people of color under the campaign of More Color More Pride. More Color More Pride states that people of color have been marginalized, ignored, and even internationally excluded – that the LGBTQIA community celebrates inclusivity but doesn’t extend that support to LGBTQIA members of color. As a gay Hispanic male, I strongly disagree with the campaign that More Color More Pride is doing to the Pride Flag.
The Stonewall Riots, or Stonewall Uprising as other might know it, took place in the early hours of June 29, 1969, in New York City at the Stonewall Inn (a local neighborhood gay bar that welcomed everyone regardless of race and gender). This event was considered one of the significant events that kick off the modern gay liberation movement. The outcome of the Stonewall Riots was that it helped establish places for LGBTQIA members to be open and free about their sexual orientation and race without fear of being arrested.
The Stonewall Riots led other cities across the country to celebrate LGBTQIA Pride March or, as it is also known, Gay Pride March. LGBTQIA Pride March is a positive stance towards discrimination and violence towards the LGBTQIA community where anyone is allowed to be themselves and celebrate who they are in safe space with the fear of being targeted with hate. LGBTQIA Pride March helps promote social equality, self-affirmation, and help celebrate gender variance and sexual diversity. I feel that LGBTQIA Pride March celebrates everyone and the supporters of LGBTQIA people regardless of race.
Nine years after the Stonewall Riots, Gilbert Baker an Army Veteran and LGTBQIA activist in San Francisco created the rainbow flag, or as others might know it, the gay pride flag or LGBTQIA Pride flag. Since its creation, it has been a symbol for our community to rely upon and demonstrates the peace and diversity that is our community. In a radio interview by CBS Chicago, Gilbert Baker said, “The rainbow is a beautiful part of nature, all of the colors and even the colors you can’t see. That really fits us as a people, because we are all of the colors. Our sexuality all of the colors. We are all the genders, races, and ages.” The design of the pride flag has undergone several revisions such as removing two colors and later adding them. But the message has always stayed the same, and the six colors red (life), orange (healing), yellow (sunlight), green (nature), blue (serenity), and violet (spirit) still represents our sexuality, gender, races, and ages.
By adding the black and brown color, in my opinion, we are starting to exclude other people of our community, and in all honesty shouldn’t we also add a color for Asian, Whites, Indians, Armenians and Arab LGBTQIA members, since we are trying to be fair and inclusive to everyone? Let’s also not forget the Trans community, and add colors that represent them as well. The bear community, bi-sexual and the older LGBTQIA members might want a color too; someone should check with them. Make sure when someone adds a color for the drag queen community it matches their contour. I can’t visualize anything worse than a queen trying to stab you with the back of her stiletto heel for messing up her look.
Before this debate about the pride flag, I knew about Bear Brotherhood Flag and Transgender Flag, and during my research on this topic, I discovered that many members in the LGBTQIA umbrella have their flags! Agender, asexual, bisexual, gender fluid, gender queer, intersex, lesbian (it had an ax on the design not surprise), lipstick lesbian, non-binary, pansexual, polysexual, and the twink’s (not the ones you eat, oops I guess you can eat both silly me) all have their flags that represent their subculture in our community. With that being said, I support the creation of a separate flag for the LGBTQIA members of color, because they are part of our umbrella and do need to be represented. But, by adding the brown and black colors to the Pride flag, we are starting to divide ourselves further, and it goes against the original vision that Gilbert Baker saw when he first constructed the flag. And we have to remember that his original vision included all races.
Now more than ever in these trying times, we need to be more united than ever. We need to be the role models to younger LGBTQIA members in our community and show them that we are a united front that will advocate and fight for their rights.
I’ll admit racism does exist in our community, and there’s a thin line between sexual attraction and racism that needs to be talked about, but as a gay Hispanic male, when I look at the pride flag, I feel that I’m represented. I see my friends and family, and those who support me are also represented in the pride flag.