This article was published on July 9th, 2020
The international community continues to mourn the passing of George Floyd, and there are many within the LGBTQ+ that are looking to honor his memory by ensuring that black and brown people get representation on the Pride flag in an effort to unite minority backgrounds and confront racism directly. Recently, the iconic rainbow banner made headlines across the world as nationwide protests continued in support of Black Lives Matter and police brutality against people of color.
The impact of the Stonewall riots are front and center currently as the community at large commemorates the activism of Marsha P. Johnson, a black trans sex worker, and Sylvia Ray Rivera, a latina trans worker, that revolutionized the LGBTQ+ movement. As catalysts for change, their actions symbolized a new level in the struggle for change and brought attention to the necessity of acknowledging other members within the black and brown community.
Designed by legendary Gilbert Baker in 1978 in San Francisco, the original LGBTQ+ rainbow flag included 8 original colors that signified solidarity, and eventually was included as part of the permanent collection at the MoMa and the Design Museum in London. The new iteration of the rainbow flag, known as the Progress Pride flag, has been designed by Daniel Quasar and adds five arrow-shaped lines to the traditional six-colored Rainbow flag to represent the LGBT+ community. With the addition of the black and brown stripes to the flag, the revamp builds on the original design and is meant to represent the communities of color that are historically ignored or overlooked.
In commemoration with the 50th anniversary of Pride month, the LGBTQ+ community has rallied behind Quasar’s design as it acknowledges the conviction of those that were instrumental in the 1969 riots at the Stonewall Inn. The riots resulted in pushing the rights of the queer community forward and respected the power of transgender people of color. The design served as a cultural shift to what was important in the community while acknowledging the struggles of all those that live under the LGBTQ+ community. The revised flag is noted for adding to the traditional configuration while adding elements that represent forward movement and the progress that is still in motion.
Recently, over 50% of the LGBTQ+ BAME community reported experiencing racism within the LGBTQ+ community. The recreation of the flag to include the brown and black stripes has allowed more minorities to feel represented and given access to more opportunity. While there is still work to be done, the move is a step in the right direction.
What has been abundantly clear the last few years is that racism is not just an issue for the queer community, but is rampant throughout the world – and in order to make a change, more people must be aware of the actions and words associated with bringing about the change. The introduction of the revised Quasar flag is a concerted effort to confront racism and bring about the change that the LGBTQ+ community is working hard to overcome.