What do you feel when you see flags? Is there a sense of pride or belonging? What about fear or anxiety? Certainly, they are symbols that are assimilated differently by different people, nevertheless, they represent something, like nations, countries, groups of people, organizations, etc.
Wikipedia describes flags as distinctive pieces of fabric used as a symbol, a signaling device, or for decoration. It's mentioned that "While the origin of flags is unknown, flag-like symbols have been described as far back as 11th century BC China and have been used by other ancient civilizations such as Egypt and Rome." so basically, for a very very long time.
I came out when I was 23, right after I graduated from college. I got my first job and I felt like I didn't have to tell everyone (or anyone) about me being gay. I was still new to the queer life and certainly afraid of people's reactions or treatment towards me. Would their behavior change towards me if they knew I was part of the LGBTQ+ community? I didn't want to find out, so I kept it to myself.
As years passed and I became more comfortable with myself and realized the importance of being queer AND visible in the workplace, and honestly, everywhere, so that others like me knew they weren't alone and kids can see what a queer person looks like and are people like all people. I didn't see much of those queer examples growing up because the AIDS pandemic and the closed minded society I grew up in, and that's what made me so afraid to come out and be my authentic self until 23! So yes, I became "loud and proud" so that I could inspire safety to those that didn't feel yet.
When I was 27 I started working for an organization called Golden Rule Project (A charter partner). Our office was in an art gallery in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, that was owned by the founder of the organization. When June arrive that year, they were ready to put a Pride flag outside. I was asked to help put it up, since I'm pretty tall, and being the only queer person in the building, it felt special.
I must tell you (with tears in my eyes as I'm typing remembering the moment):
I felt so accepted.
I felt so welcomed.
I felt so embraced.
I felt loved and encouraged by a group of people that weren't queer, yet supportive of me, my rights, and my life.
It was a powerful moment to see that this symbol, the pride flag, hanging at the entrance of the gallery, made me feel all those things.
I want other queer people, especially those that are scared or nervous because of their sexuality, to feel the same emotions I felt during that moment.
As I participate and go to Pride parades and other queer events, I have seen so many flags that I had never seen or known about, so I've been learning a lot about the different ones. You can check out this Wikipedia article or this one from Reader's Digest on the different flags representing the many different groups that make up the LGBTQIA+ community.
I hope you can fly one of them at your work or home so that others like me, when they are scared of being who they are, at a young age, can feel welcome and safe enough to be their true authentic selves by seeing this welcoming rainbow of joy of a symbol.
I leave you with my favorite Pride flag too, the Progress Pride Flag:
This flag was created in 2018. This design is a modified version of the first pride flag by Gilbert Baker created in 1977. Designer from Oregon, USA, Daniel Quasar started a kickstarter to raise money for the new flag. He said: "When the Pride flag was recreated in the last year to include both black/brown stripes as well as the trans stripes included this year, I wanted to see if there could be more emphasis in the design of the flag to give it more meaning". Quasar said: "This new design forces the viewer to reflect on their own feelings towards the original Pride flag and its meaning as well as the differing opinions on who that flag really represents, while also bringing into clear focus the current needs within our community."
Meaning: The colors represent the following; red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, indigo for serenity, and violet for spirit. Brown and black stripes represent people of color and people who have died from AIDS, while the white, pink, and blue are the colors from the transgender flag.
Hope you are practicing compassion in all the possible ways during this pride month, and every month.
Click here to visit our online store and check out our PRIDE collection. Browse dozens of products embracing the rainbow 🌈
Support the Charter while showing support for our LGBTQIA+ siblings around the world, as you colorfully and pridefully Wear Compassion, Talk Compassion.