4/18/24: Pride Flags

We have had quite a lot of conversation about Pride Flags of late. One thing everyone agrees to is that we should be flying a Pride Flag. It is a symbol that we are Open & Affirming, a safe and welcoming space for everyone. While Pride was originally acceptance of gays, it has become so much broader. So it begs the question of which Pride flag we should fly. You would be amazed at the number of choices and the variety.

Our conversations have revolved around 3 flags. This is what I shall present to Church Council for a vote at our next meeting, on May 8th.

#1. Firstly is the original Pride flag, which is what we currently fly–and have flown for many years.

In 1978, Gilbert Baker, a friend of San Francisco’s openly gay City Supervisor Harvey Milk, designed the first rainbow flag in collaboration with his friend Lynn Segerblom (also known as Faerie Argyle Rainbow). The eight-color flag first flew over the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade in June of 1978. Each of the original colors had their own unique symbolism. Hot pink: sex; Red: life; Orange: healing; Yellow: sunlight; Green: nature; Turquoise: magic and art; Indigo: serenity; and Violet: spirit. Although Baker’s original rainbow flag had eight colors, from 1979 to the present day the most common variant consists of six stripes: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. The flag is typically displayed horizontally, with the red stripe on top, as it would be in a natural rainbow.

#2. A similar flag is the Cuzco flag from Peru–an Incan flag adds one more band of color–light blue:

In addition to being the city flag and a co-official flag of the Department of Cuzco, a seven-color flag has different uses depending on the context. It is used as the flag for Quechua languages, popular, but unofficial national flag of the Quechua people and flag representing the Inca heritage in general. Its use as an Inca heritage flag is controversial due to its non-historic nature. Nevertheless, its use shows respect for the history of the Inca Empire.

#3. The flag has continued to morph into many forms. Most recently, the 2018 Progress Flag, updated to the Intersex Flag:

Designer Daniel Quasar creates the “Progress Flag”, which combines elements of the 2017 Philadelphia flag and the trans flag with the traditional rainbow flag. According to Quasar, the colors in the chevron represent trans individuals, people of color, those living with HIV/AIDS, and deceased members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Designed by Valentino Vecchietti of Intersex Equality rights UK, this design builds on Daniel Quasar’s 2018 Progress Pride flag by adding a yellow triangle and purple circle as a tribute to the 2013 intersex flag designed by Morgan Carpenter, Australian bioethicist and researcher. The updated 2021 “Intersex Inclusive Pride Progress Flag” design reflects the need to include underrepresented intersex people in the broader Pride imagery. The Pride flag has been a working document since the beginning. Vecchietti’s design marks a return – and then some – to the splendor of Gilbert Baker’s original design, featuring 11 distinct colors and a visually-arresting layout.

So if you have an opinion that you would like represented at the Council meeting, you can certainly come and give a brief reason (first letting me know) or you can speak to anyone on Council and provide your input. We will then take a vote and let the church know our decision.