The iconic rainbow flag was designed by the late Gilbert Baker in 1978. Originally having eight colors, hot pink and turquoise being removed due to the lack of availability of those dyes, the now-famous flag consists of six colors. Red to represent life, orange to represent healing, yellow to represent sunlight, green to represent nature, indigo to represent harmony, and violet to represent spirit.
But Philadelphia is looking to make the flag have eight colorful stripes again – this time with the addition of black and brown.
The city’s new campaign, More Color, More Pride, looks to be more inclusive of LGBTI individuals of color who are often left out of mainstream LGBTI discussion.
‘To fuel this important conversation, we’ve expanded the colors of the flag to include black and brown. It may seem like a small step. But together we can make big strides toward a truly inclusive community,’ the campaign’s website reads.
‘The black and brown stripes are an inclusionary way to highlight black and brown LGBTQIA members within our community,’ one unnamed source told G Philly. ‘With all of the black and brown activism that’s worked to address racism in the Gayborhood over the past year, I think the new flag is a great step for the city to show the world that they’re working toward fully supporting all members of our community.’
This decision comes about six months after the Philadelphia Commission of Human Relations (PCHR) mandated gay bars, clubs, and nonprofits require their employees to complete racial sensitivity training after numerous complaints of race discrimination.
For Amber Hikes, Philadelphia’s director of LGBT affairs, this new version of the flag means a lot. ‘Seeing an image like this flag instills so much pride in me as a queer black woman,’ she said. ‘When I see the flag, I feel like I see myself.’
‘The new design is a symbolic representation of Philadelphia’s commitment to centering the experiences, contributions, activism and dedication of black and brown members of our community,’ Hikes stated. ‘To me, this flag says: “We see you. We honor you. We celebrate you. You’re not just a part of us. You are us.”’
Learn more about Philly’s new version of the Pride flag in the video below: