To celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month, the community in Philadelphia, United States, widened its narrative to include two additional colours, black and brown, to the iconic pride flag, and hoisted it outside City Hall.
The move is an attempt to include people of colour in the LGBTQ fold. “The flag is a symbolic measure on behalf of the city to recognise this history of racism, recognise the challenges specifically in the local context,” said Amber Hikes, the executive director of Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs, in the video (above).
The gesture hasn’t gone down well with everyone, though. A debate has broken out between supporters and those who believe this change is unnecessary. Critics say that the pride flag has historically stood for the entire community as a symbol of unity, regardless of race. Others suggested a white stripe be added too.
But the critics may be ignoring the context: there have been many cases of discrimination and racism in the city, like this video that was posted online showing a bar owner using racist slurs. In response to these issues, the Philadelphia Office of LGBT Affairs decided to run a campaign called “More Color, More Pride” (video below).
“In 1978, artist Gilbert Baker designed the original rainbow flag,” the campaign website declares. “So much has happened since then. A lot of good, but there’s more we can do. Especially when it comes to recognising 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.”