Pride Flag – Do we really need change?

Nearly a month ago, Manchester Pride announced the much-anticipated changes to the annual pride event. And while some of the even format changes created some discussion, it was the change in the pride flag that appears to have caused the biggest outcry (edit: at the time).

As part of the 2019 announcement, a new striking visual identity was created, which was ‘…designed to better represent the make-up of LGBTQ+ communities within Greater Manchester .’

Included as part of the identity, is a revised Pride flag including two additional stripes (black and brown) to ‘better recognise black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), LGBT+ people). The revised flag was originally created as part of 2017 Philidelphia Pride.

So why has there been such an uproar? While some people have welcomed the change, a lot have taken issue for a number of reasons, with one of the main reasons being that the current flag is about inclusivity for all, while the new flag is highlighting a certain area of the community.

Pride flag meaning

There have been a number of variations of the Pride flag over the years, but the meaning of the flag remains the same:

Red Life
Orange Healing
Yellow Sunlight
Green Nature
Blue Serenity
Violet Sprit

It’s clear that there is a lot of passion in peoples views, whether positive or negative, although there are a few things that I noticed:

  • Constructive comments for or against the updated Pride flag
  • Derogative/racial comments whether on purpose, institutional or just trying to be funny
  • The inability for some people to discuss, without threats of PC madness/racism being thrown at each other

What is my opinion

The LGBT+ community is a wide, and varied clusterfuck of colourful people. The way that I see us, we are all the different types of people condensed into a small percentage of society. Our views and opinions are not always matched just because we are LGBT+.

There are a number of flags that fall under the LGBT+ umbrella that represent certain areas, whether that be trans, intersex, bi, leather or rubber. And we don’t always fall under one of those flags. With that in mind, I solely believe that this flag deserves to be part of the LGBT+ umbrella to give BAME the representation that they deserve.

If anything, these last two weeks have showed exactly how much work is still required for POC to feel included and involved in the community.

It was only last year that Stonewall confirmed in their ‘LGBT in Britain – Home and Communities‘ report, that over 50% of BAME LGBT+ experienced racism within the community. And it’s well documented that there is blatant racist language being used on some of the gay social profiles, to the effect that companies such as Grindr are launching campaigns, such as #KindrGrindr, to tackle this.

So here is the thing, I’ve used the term ‘community’ several times throughout this post, but I am using it loosely. Our community is as fragmented as a plate being thrown at a wall! We need to accept that racism, as well as misogyny, ageism, bi-phobia, trans-phobia etc, is currently happening in the community!

We need to work together to tackle this, not bury our heads in the sand and pretend that it doesn’t exist, just because you don’t think you are any of the above! The number of times I’ve had conversations with straight people who didn’t believe homophobia still existed because “they aren’t”! So why would these conversations in LGBT+ community be any different.

Personally, for me, the Pride flag is the conglomerate of all LGBT+ flags. It is meant to be a representation all of the community, with each umbrella flag underneath representing each individual section proudly.

I’ve seen so many comments recently on the socials which fall mainly into the same categories:

The Pride flag has changed before, so why does it matter now?

I agree, it has. And change should always be welcome…if it is correct.

And this is where I struggle, the stripes, as highlighted above have meanings and nothing to do with specific areas of the community.

As I have said previously, this flag should exist, but I’m not 100% sold on it being a replacement to the current Pride flag.

The Pride flag is an inclusive flag for the whole community. Adding the new strips brings futher exclusion.

So I have two thoughts in relation to this. As a white CIS man, I kind of agree where this comment is coming from. Where you start to target a specific area of the community, you’re alienating others. And I’m not just talking just about race, I’m talking about sexuality (I mean how many times are bi’s told they’re just lying to themselves, or greedy?) and trans (who are currently fighting the gender battle, just as we were fighting the sexuality one)…and sometimes it seems the rest of LGBT+ don’t care!.

But in the same respect, I understand that people don’t always feel that the current Pride flag is fully representative of the whole community, and this is why they want a change. I get that, but I don’t really feel that this new flag represents all.

What needs to be applauded, is the awareness that Manchester Pride has brought by this change in their visual identity. It’s highlighted that racism still explicitly exists and needs to be tackled, and these difficult and sometimes confrontational conversations need to happen…again!

And while writing this blog, my views about the Pride flag have gone back and forth. But at the end of the day, it’s just a flag! Things change, we need to change, otherwise, we’d be stuck in the same era as Rees-Mogg currently is!

Personally, I’d prefer to see a flag that is inclusive to all, and I feel that this is more fitting than the new one that Manchester Pride has adopted:

Pride flag with trans and BAME colours

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