Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Rainbow Unity

Last week I noticed for the first time that people refer to the rainbow flag as "the gay flag". I have often heard it referred to as such, but for the first time I really thought about it. Is it really?

We have quite a diverse community, consisting of gay men, gay women (or lesbians), bisexual people, transgender people (including transsexuals, drag queens, transvestites, she-males) and intersex people. There are also other sub-groups such as pansexuals, panromantics, the gender-queer and asexuals. And if you think that's all there is to us, you're mistaken. There are also some lesser-known sub-cultures within our community, such as the bear and leather groups.

And yes, while we may be gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex, we can also be part of more than one of these groups at the same time. I for example, am a transsexual woman who generally dates other transsexual women. I am also panromantic and asexual - and to add to the flavor, I am also an honorary member of the PE Bears - and yes, all of these things at the same time. Considering this, I could find individual flags for the Transgender Community, bisexual (but not pansexual or panromantic) community, and the Bear flag. I did manage to find one flag to represent all of these things - the Rainbow Flag - which represents all these aspects to my nature, my personality and my existence, even though I am not technically gay, but don't mind being called as such. This would be the Rainbow Flag, which is too often called the "Gay" flag.

So we call it the "Gay Flag", even though it represents all of us, and we belong to organizations which call themselves "Gay" organizations, even though many of them represent all of us - but sometimes it feels like some of us are a little bit left out. Too often, some groups fighting for the Gay community omit to include the rights of other sub-groups in the same broader community in their scope. Too often, some of us have to address our issues alone, issues which could easily be included and addressed more effectively by the larger bodies representing - or claiming to represent - the global Pink Community.

I don't mind it being called the "Gay Flag", as long as we remember it symbolizes far more than just the gay segment of our community.

Wikipedia describes the rainbow flag, sometimes Pride Flag or Gay Pride Flag as "a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) pride and LGBT social movements, in use since the 1970s. The colors reflect the diversity of the LGBT community, and the flag is often used as a symbol of gay pride in LGBT rights marches. It originated in the United States, but is now used worldwide. Designed by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker in 1978, the design has undergone several revisions to first remove then re-add colours due to widely available fabrics. As of 2008, the most common variant consists of six stripes, with the colours red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. The flag is commonly flown horizontally, with the red stripe on top, as it would be in a natural rainbow."

Reading this concise definition, which appears in different forms in several places on the internet, we can see that this is NOT just the "gay flag". We should remember that we are all one community, a persecuted and all-too-often oppressed minority, in some places in this world we are fighting not only for the right to equality and civil rights - but for the right to live. If you take all the diverse colors of the Rainbow Flag symbolizing our diversity and our unity and mix them all together, what color will you get? Let's call it Pink.

The flag and the colors on it represent one thing - the diversity of our community, the Pink Community - hence, one community, one flag.

We should remember that fact, and act like it.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Christina,
    People seem to dump the GLBTI community all under the heading of 'gay'.
    It is a from of bigotry under both the straight and gay community.
    It is very sad indeed.
    Regards,
    Andre

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  2. Why shouldn't it stand for unity, peace, and equality among ALL people? Look at it. All colors , standing together. All kinds, all types unified. It actually DOES mean that but it seems like some in the GLBTI community have hijacked this symbol and have selfishly applied it's meaning only to them. To me that's division... not unity. Shame.

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