In 2017, the City of Philadelphia unveiled a redesigned Pride flag that added two additional black and brown stripes, in recognition of LGBTQ people of color. The Philly Pride Flag was iconic of Philadelphia’s efforts to combat discrimination within the LGBTQ community and to celebrate the stories of those typically left out of the LGBTQ experience.
The New Philly Pride Flag reminds us that #AllPrideMatters in place like St.Croix, where black and brown LGBTQ people are striving for dignity and respect in a culture of homophobia!
The black and brown stripes of the new pride flags reminds us that not all feel included, not all are experiencing equality, and not all are afforded the privilege of being fully themselves, even within our wider community who prides itself on being diverse and inclusive. These new stripes move us toward a higher standard of #AllPrideMatters.
Opponents of the #AllPrideMatters flag are outraged! They argue that the colors of the rainbow are already diverse. They argue that the purpose of the pride flag is not to represent race but gender and sexuality. They argue that inserting race into the conversation creates divisiveness in our community and distracts us from the true meaning of pride.
The controversy is only further complicated by the 2017 death of Gilbert Baker, the artist who created the rainbow flag as a replacement for the pink triangle, which was a Nazi relic from World War II.
Baker wanted to convey the idea of diversity and inclusion, using something from nature to represent that our sexuality is a human right, saying, “I decided that we should have a flag, that a flag fit us as a symbol, that we are a people, a tribe if you will.”
Baker's original flag had eight colors, each representing a different aspect of humanity:
Pink for sexuality
Red for life
Orange for healing
Yellow for sunlight
Green for nature
Turquoise for art
Indigo for harmony
Violet for human spirit
It would later be reduced to six stripes, removing pink for sexuality and indigo for harmony, and swapping blue for turquoise.
The current rainbow flag came close to being a trademarked symbol that would have kept it from public use but Gilbert Baker sued - and won - by arguing that he created the flag for everyone and wanted it to remain free for public use.
Which is why all around the world queer communities have flown variations of the rainbow flag for decades as a symbol of justice and inclusive that suits their experience and context because #ALLPrideMatters.
The new #ALLPrideMatters pride flag is not a divisive distraction from Pride, but a more perfect expression of Pride for our racialized context. The new #AllPrideMatters pride flag expresses a more perfect union of the Pride that we all hope to celebrate across the country and around the world in June.