There’s a saying among some queer and trans people of color that goes, “a rainbow is only a reflection of white light.” The saying is a reference to the monolith of whiteness that puts a chokehold over the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community. But thanks to Amber Hikes, a queer Black woman in Philadelphia, the 34 percent of non-white queer and trans people of color in the U.S. will finally be able to see themselves represented in the iconic symbol.
Tierny, a local ad agency where Hikes is the executive director, and Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs, collaborated to create a brand new pride flag adorned with additional black and brown stripes above the rest of the rainbow.
The flag was unveiled at the Pride Month kick-off event at Philadelphia’s City Hall as part of the More Color More Pride campaign. According to the website, they are aiming to fuel conversation on how to implement a more inclusive community. To Hikes’ knowledge, they are the first city to publicly recognize racial discrimination within the LGBT community.
“Right off the bat, it has absolutely started a conversation, certainly in this city and beyond,” she told CNN.
While there has been a great deal of praise from other cities, some people aren’t so happy about the newly-rendered flag — mostly gay white men. She said there’s a presumption amongst gay white men that the rainbow flag already represents everyone.
Insert chronic eye-roll here.
Thankfully, in the true spirit of the city of brotherly love, Mayor Jim Kenney has vowed to take a stand against such discrimination.
“Racism in the LGBTQ community is a real issue,” Kenney said. “It’s a real issue in our entire society, not only just in the LGBTQ area or in the Gayborhood.”
Adding stripes to a flag isn’t a cure for historic racism in one’s community, but it is definitely a way to kickstart the conversation.