The LGBTQ+ flag: It’s time for an update

Derek Sherlock – Anchor staff

There is a topic that needs to be addressed within (and from a member of) the LGBTQ+ community. As a non-binary, gender-fluid and pansexual being, I feel that I can address these subjects.

The main symbol of the LGBTQ+ community is the iconic rainbow flag, which was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978. However, a newer flag was revealed just last year in Philadelphia, also known as the “City of Brotherly Love.” The updated flag added two new stripes– black and brown. These two stripes were added to highlight the diversity within the community in Philadelphia of Black and Latinx people.

Photo courtesy of YES! Magazine

As I was growing up, learning about the community with shows such as “Queer as Folk” and films like “But I’m A Cheerleader”, there wasn’t much in terms of displaying how diverse the community truly is. I feel that what the LGBTQ+ community needs to do is “retire” the original flag and adopt the flag now being labeled as the “Philadelphia Pride Flag” as the new symbol for the community.

Why should we do this? Because there needs to be a visual representation of intersectionality within the community. What I mean is that we need to let our Black and Latinx LGBTQ+ siblings know that they truly belong within our community. I feel like with a community that is mostly portrayed in the media as predominantly white with films and television shows, our Black and Latinx siblings don’t get the chance to see themselves represented anywhere, with few exceptions (such as the powerful and amazing “Moonlight,” as well as the show “Noah’s Arc”).

Just by adding those two stripes we can make the clubs, the bars and LGBTQ-friendly business feel more welcoming to our siblings of color. Not showing how impactful people of color were/are to the community is, in my opinion, whitewashing the legacy of the Gay Liberation Movement. Yes, I am looking at you Stonewall, with your distorting of the legacy that my sisters Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera fought so hard for us to be free.

The LGBTQ+ community needs to celebrate our history and legacy. The best way to do that is by celebrating the fight our Black and Latinx siblings. They fought for gay rights just as much as anyone else. The Philadelphia Pride flag would not only acknowledge the contributions that Black and Latinx people have provided the community, it would embrace them.