The thing about symbols is they can go from being one person's creation to being owned by a community. Many times, that's the intention. But in the case of the Bi Pride Flag, though that piece of iconography was created to represent the bisexual community, one organization wants to police its use.
"Hi JayneBShea," BiNet USA tweeted on Tuesday night. "We at BiNet USA are asking you to get in touch so we can discuss your use of the bisexual pride flag without any money going to our organization. Thank you for removing the flag from your site, socials or work. We know this is a lot so we hope we can work a new deal. Shea is a bisexual author, advocate, and creator of merchandise.
BiNet went on asking their followers to let them know if they see Bi Pride Flags being sold "If you're wholly non-profit? We support your use of the flag to share bi visibility and you have our thanks," they wrote. But if it is a part of any sort of financial endeavor, the organization says that a license agreement is needed.
"The copyright of the flag is solely BiNet USA's," the account wrote. "It does not belong to one founder and no founder can approve its use without the President and/or board approval." They went on write that Target also owes them a cut as the company sells Bi Pride flags. At one point, the thread went so far as to say that use of even the Bi Pride colors must be approved.
"Most other Pride flags were not created by an organization but way back when Bi Net USA were the first to create a new flag, and then many other communities followed suit," they wrote. "Many of which we bis are also part of and calm home. What of those other flag makers? Do they struggle too?"
"We should step up against the commercialization of the dream of pride," they continued. "And ask hard questions of any who make money using Pride flags or sell to increase visibility."
BiNet USA is reportedly America's oldest advocacy organization for bi+ people and is known partially as a co-founder of Bisexual+ Awareness Week, alongside GLAAD. That week began in 2014 which hosted a White House event in 2015 and 2016. In respect to the flag, MIchael Page created it in 1998 but BiNet contends that was done "in conversation with" their oganization.
BiNet USA went on to tell others to cease their use of the flag, including the Human Rights Campaign, telling the organization to remove it from their Zoom background options.
Many of the organization's tweets attempting to police the usage of the symbol have been "ratioed," a phenom where there are more responses — typically negative — than retweets or likes.