Over the course of this month's parties and parades, we've seen all sorts of rainbow flags to celebrate the LGBTQ community. But Philadelphia's Pride flag is slightly different: The city's organization More Color More Pride added two new colors — black and brown — to acknowledge LGBTQ people of color.
This decision was easy to understand, given the disproportionate oppression and erasure LGBTQ people of color experience. This year alone, 12 murders of trans people of color have been reported in the U.S. And LGBTQ youth of color are even more likely than the overall LGBTQ youth population to be homeless and face bullying. Yet some had a problem with More Color More Pride's decision, arguing that drawing attention to race detracted from LGBTQ issues.
But as many social media users pointed out, these causes are not mutually exclusive. As Amber Hikes, executive director of Philadelphia's Office of LGBT Affairs, told Mic, it's "not instead of, it’s in addition to." She added, "having additional flags in our community don't make the original flag null and void."
Many people also pointed out that there are already flags for specific groups of people within the LGBTQ community, like trans people and intersex people, so why not have this one?
In addition, this flag has a special significance in the context of Philadelphia's recent events. In response to reports of racism in the city's gay neighborhood, it serves as a reminder that there's a lot of work to be done for inclusion of people of color in the LGBTQ community. Some people are saying that the backlash to the flag is further evidence of this.
"The fact that two stripes have triggered the online and offline responses that it has, it just proves that there is entrenched racism and anti-blackness [in the community]," Abdul-Aliy Muhammad, co-founder of Philadelphia's Black and Brown Workers Collective, told Mic. "This is real, this is lived, and this is felt by us on a daily basis."