Friday, June 23, 2017

A New Pride Flag?

Written by  Rai Guerra-Nelson
A New Pride Flag? photo: Tony Webb

Before I begin to talk about the “new Pride flag,” I must state that this is my opinion and not that of this publication or of my community in Asbury Park as a whole. There’s been a lot of buzz recently about the “new Pride flag,” that includes two added colors, in brown and black, to represent black and people of color.

The flag was unveiled at a Pride-month kick-off event in Philadelphia as a new campaign “More Color More Pride.” This new campaign was developed by a local ad agency that worked with Philadeliphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs, where Amber Hicks, a queer woman of color, is the executive director. On an interview with CNN she said “White people do not know what racism looks like, because that’s the definition of racism.” (Deep sigh.)

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the actual definition is: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. Since “Silence is the voice of complacency,” I too have my views on the topic.

Now, before you start crafting your emails and finding me on social media outlets to express your disappointment in my view on the topic, I’m kindly asking for you to keep it to yourselves. I understand we all have our own views and thoughts on this, but this is my platform to share mine. I also understand that it might make me slightly unpopular, but also know that what you think of me or my views are none of my business.

That being said, I don’t like the idea, I think it’s really silly. The gay pride flag is the most recognizable symbol of the LGBTQ community. It is also known in Italy as the pace or “Peace flag.” It is meant to include all in the community. It was never about race or religion.

MyNameIsJosephine posted a video on her Facebook page that really nailed it for me. In the video, she takes the pink ribbon as an example pointing out that the ribbon is just pink, it doesn’t need to have a black or white stripe because it represents everyone with breast cancer and who support it in raising awareness for the cause. The colors were meant to represent life, healing, sun, nature, harmony, and spirit in that order. Now it represents that and people of color but excluding other races. Counterproductive I say!

While I believe that this has opened up a conversation about race, I feel like it is distracting us from really important things that are happening to the LGBTQ community under this administration.

This current administration is notoriously anti-LGBTQ. Take, for example Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, who supported a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, voted against adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the definition of hate crimes, and voted against repealing the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Or there’s Mike Pompeo, director of the Central Intelligence Agency who, while serving in congress, Pompeo voted to protect anti-same-sex marriage opinions as free speech and also supported a bill saying a state’s definition of marriage should supersede the federal one. And who can leave out, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos? Not only is she unqualified for her role, but she and her family have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to anti LGBTQ agencies to preserve her “Christian morals.” More recently #45’s administration removed the LGBT wording on the Equal Employment policy. According to a publication the statement now reads: “The Department of Commerce does not tolerate behavior, harassment, discrimination, or prejudice based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability.” But statements in 2016 and 2014 included a wider variety of protections, and even the 2010 statement read: The Department of Commerce does not tolerate discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination), sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age (40 years of age and over), genetic information or disability (physical or mental), including the provision of reasonable accommodations for qualified applicants and employees with disabilities. Let’s not lose focus on the bigger picture people. Let’s continue to resist without distractions and be loud about our resistance. Let’s go out and make a difference in our communities without further dividing our own.

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