While the six-stripe rainbow flag has become a symbol of inclusivity throughout the LGBTQ community, people of color within the umbrella have historically been marginalized, and, at times, intentionally ignored during the fight for equality. A new campaign, launched by Philadelphia, is pushing to add two new stripes to Gilbert Baker's design: Black and brown, as a way to celebrate non-white LGBTQ members.
"In 1978, artist Gilbert Baker designed the original rainbow flag," the More Color More Pride site says. "An iconic symbol of LGBTQ+ unity. So much has happened since then. A lot of good, but there's more we can do. Especially when it comes to recognizing people of color in the LGBTQ+ community. To fuel this important conversation, we've expanded the colors of the flag to include black and brown," the campaign site reads. "It may seem like a small step. But together we can make big strides toward a truly inclusive community."
The proposed eight-stripe flag was designed by Tierney, a Philadelphia-based advertising agency, who approached the Office of LGBT Affairs with the update. Amber Hikes, the city's director of LGBT Affairs, told Philadelphia Gay News she teared up the first time she saw Tierney's work. "Seeing an image like this flag instills so much pride in me as a queer black woman," she said. "When I see the flag, I feel like I see myself."
Tierney's new design was unveiled this week with an official flag-raising ceremony, where the office chose people of color as presenters and performers. Describing the event as "historic," Hikes said she's working to celebrate people this Pride who're too often left out of our LGBTQ narrative. "I'm really excited to use this event to highlight people of transgender and gender-nonconforming experience, [and] highlight youth and people of color for their contributions to the LGBTQ-liberation movement."