Last month, Philadelphia, through their More Color More Pride campaign, which was created in an effort to form an even more inclusive community, announced their new and improved pride flag. This new flag, features two additional colors, black and brown. Through Twitter, this caused a huge stir within the community, and many of the comments were actually very mixed towards their feelings for the new flag. More than anything, I was rather surprised; my personal feelings were very mixed. Naturally, my opinion towards this new flag was highly influenced on whatever I read, since it was, at the time, fairly new news. I went from being against, to for, to just simple not caring in the matter of an hour. Finally, I just simply decided that I was going to give it a rest, I’d think about it in a few days when it wasn’t such a hot new topic.
A few days went by, maybe a week, and what was said above was exactly what I did. I ignored it in an effort of forming my own opinions later on. Naturally, I didn’t completely exclude everything and everyone from the entire conversation, leaving me to create my own conclusion. It’s important to listen to others; care about their concerns. After all, excluding people from this conversation is the reason the new colors were added to the flag to begin with. I just simply didn’t want to deal with it when everyone was all worked up on it. Eventually, I came up with the conclusion that I’m not exactly for the new pride flag.
I was having a conversation with a fellow Affinity writer who was actually extremely pro this new, improved pride flag and she brought up very important points that I took into account. The one that stuck very vividly was the fact that she translated the new colors as important because black and brown people do have very different, sometimes even far more harsh, experiences in contrast to, say, white people when coming to terms with their sexuality and/or gender expression. That was a different side to the conversation that I didn’t consider because I saw the colors as much more of a tactic for representation.
Despite that argument, I found it rather interesting because I never saw the pride flag as anything other than the representation of sexuality. It’s very true, and I entirely agree, that the battle for acceptance within racially marginalized people can be more complex, but that doesn’t correlate with the flag. I don’t think anyone ever thinks, while looking at the flag, “Oh! That flag doesn’t represent me!” because above everything, the one thing we do have in common is our sexualities. The meaning of the colors, that being life (red), healing (orange), sunlight (yellow), nature (green), harmony/peace (blue) and spirit (purple/violet) always penetrated through regardless of race, ethnicity or nationality. If we were to change the colors of the flag, it wouldn’t make sense to only include those two colors, since East Asian people within the community are very neglected and sometimes they don’t identify with either brown or black. That can be said about the Latino community as well.
We can’t ignore the constant “preference” arguments that occur frequently, predominantly within the gay community. I’m not in the position to speak on the East Asian community but it would only make sense, since they are neglected within the community too. Even on TV shows, GLAAD reported that the representation of Asian and Pacific Islander people was roughly 2-6%. If we were to make the number even smaller for East Asian people, well…
For Latino/a’s, the number was roughly 7-12%.
We can even look at superficial things such as the actual colors and their juxtaposition. The creator of the flag, Gilbert Baker, even changed the colors originally in the mix (pink and turquoise) just to make the flag aesthetically pleasing. Of course, this isn’t as important but might as well insert that part of the argument.
However, despite my disapproval to the new pride flag, I won’t campaign to stop the flag from spreading. I just felt the need to express my opinions as a gay man because this is an extremely important flag that renders deep meaning and because it’s something that’ll stay with me forever, something that I will see for the rest of my life. Above everything, and more than anything, I want people to be as comfortable as they can, and if having the new flag is that portal, then I’m all for it.