Just Colour.

I’m doing it. I’m going there. I’m about to talk about it. The other flag. Yeah, you know the one I’m talking about. The rainbow flag that has two extra stripes on it. The one with the black and brown stripes on. Nah, not the original that had the pink and turquoise stripes on. The new one, with the black and brown stripes on.

I was going to think twice about writing about this. In some respects I feel that it’s not my place, I’m not a person of colour, so can I really vouch for the validity of the new flag? Well, I’m a queer person, and I have opinions. Maybe not everyone will agree but hey, that’s life. Life’s not fair, Manila.

I actually have no issue with the new flag. It is an optional flag, no one is being forced to fly it, it is a decision may be individuals or a group, and it doesn’t mean that everyone in the community must now adopt it. It’s being adopted either way. What’s funny is the arguments around it. Specifically the arguments put forward by us white folk.

The fact is, they keep referring to the 6 stripe flag as the original design…it isn’t. The history of the flag is that originally it was eight stripes. Pink, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Turquoise, Blue, Purple. Due to manufacturing complications, two of the colours were dropped to produce the flag that we have been so accustomed to. No one at this point is time is prattling on about that.

They just keep claiming that the current flag included everyone and why do we need to add two new stripes for BAME people? Well Alf, I don’t see you complaining there is a bear pride flag. A flag to celebrate that some people grow bellies and body hair. The six stripe flag included everybody so why did you make that one? Why do we have a trans flag? A poly flag? Why do we have a lesbian flag?

Simple: the six stripe rainbow flag is associated with gay pride, and what do most people show to entice you to a pride event? Slim, muscly, hairless, white men. It is a fact, it will always be the same. Whilst we like to try and champion diversity, it’s often just shown as either having blonde or brown hair. Wow.

Adding a couple more colours to the flag hurts no one. Just like when we cut two colours from it, no one died. Our community, our events are also predominantly male when being advertised or even when we are being sold something. You also can’t deny the strike system – you know when we all have three strikes in life, being gay is one of them etc. That bullshit still exists today.

The fact of the matter is, if it wasn’t for a person of colour, none of what we have today would have ever been at the point it is. We have to accept and acknowledge that, and whilst you, a white man feels like that six stripe flag includes you, it doesn’t include everyone. Yes, it has been a widely used symbol for decades, but at the same time we have ignored people of colour within our own community for ages. We have disregarded bisexual people, lesbians, and trans people because we still benefit from the patriarchy. We are still men at the end of the day, and we’re still white men, we have a privilege.

Flying a flag with some extra colours on doesn’t mean my identity is gone, or that we are giving in to something that we don’t need to. I have said it time and time again, we have to walk beside others, we have to join the fight about race, about gender, because we are part of the problem and accepting that means we can change it.

Fly whatever flag you want, but do not invalidate other people. And stop saying it’s the original flag when it isn’t. Grow up.


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