SFGN’s “Speak OUT” is a weekly feature giving a regular voice to South Florida LGBT community leaders, activistsand business people.


This month Philadelphia unveiled a new Pride flag adding two stripes, a black and brown one representing the black and brown communities within the LGBT spectrum.

What are your thoughts on this new flag?


Below are some of their answers:


Absolutely not, that looks hideous!

One of the things I admire overall in the LGBT community is the level of conscientiousness and the ability to see past differences and celebrate the individualism. Lately, it seems the LGBT community is getting sucked into the distractions and are beginning to partake in actions that do not contribute to the peace-loving-happiness we know, that rainbow pride. 

Philadelphia has its share of racism period. If black and brown are listed, might as well add a white stripe. NOT.  In my reality, it is easier to feel the racial tension percolate from a white gay male than a straight white male, and this makes me cringe. So, I can understand Philly's frustration and actions regarding the flag modification, but, this is not the solution. While I understand the issues we black/brown people experience, I totally disagree with this new Pride flag. The colors of the rainbow are lively and have meaning that transcends the pigment of human skin. Life, sex, healing, art, nature, sunlight, serenity, and spirit represents all that is good with fortifying existence. Philly, please find a better way!

Sonja Pressley, BLAST Assistant Organizer


I remember the very first Gay Pride and the rolling out of the Gay Pride Flag and it included and represented ALL of US!!!!! The Rainbow Flag symbolized the Fight for all who Embrace Diversity, Freedom of Expression and the Right to Love Whoever You Want. It has nothing to do with race. RAINBOW NATION!

— Tiffany Ariegus, Community Activist, Provider, Entertainer and Fundraiser


There is no ill-will intended here. While adding the two stripes may have attempted to symbolize racial inclusion, simply adding two stripes will not accomplish this.  Symbols do not automatically matriculate into practice. Practice must come with greater acceptance and integration among all of us “rainbow” people…. as we learn to live and work together more harmoniously regardless of what color the stripes are on the banner we choose to live under.

— Paul Smith, retired Army Lieutenant Colonel & retired Clinical Social Worker


After reading a fair number of responses I feel the current flag is enough.  I see it symbolizes an LGBTQ community: not a race nor nationality.

— Robert Hadley, community activist


Adding black and brown colors to the rainbow flag is very effective in focusing our attention on life threatening racism. In spirit, it's not unlike adding letters to the acronym, which is now LGBTQQIAA. Yet, maybe the more you add to either, the less clear they become in meaning to anyone, here and elsewhere in the world. 

— Brian McNaught, noted columnist, author and LGBT activist


If members of our community who feel marginalized or even worse, excluded, want this, who has the right to say no?  I don't.  Let's hope it's a symbolic beginning of a much bigger movement to eradicate all forms of racism in the LGBT community.  I welcome the new flag.

— Judy Ireland, Assistant organizer for BLAST Women of WPB


The flag is one that needed to be more inclusive, as the LGBTQ community is knowingly riddled with racism and classism. It always baffles me as a Black lesbian how equality is always sought after, and demanded on one level and on the contrast considered "controversial" when it comes to minorities. There are numerous Black and Brown persons who are within the LGBTQ community and I think too often the community is viewed in one lense. That lense is generally upper middle class and White. That lense is not a representation of all of us.

— Danielle Allen, founder of the Black Women's Education Empowerment Initiative


This needs more than 3 lines, which is sort of the reason for adding the new colors.

— Noah Kitty, Rabbi and Executive Director of Congregation Etz Chaim


I really “get the adding of colors,” yet, I believe it will muddle that which unites us as members of our community. We stood together for the values that each of the eight original colors stood for, and we can still stand together under the current six colors that represent: life, healing, sunshine, nature, peace, and spirit. I believe that our rainbow flag was created as a banner of unity and common ground. Our common ground with common values have stood the test of time as we have transitioned from GL community to the GLB community, to the GLBT community, and as of recent the GLBTA community. 

With that said, let me be very clear that our community is riddled with racial discrimination, ethnic bias and even cultural mockery. Just because we support our commonalities does not mean we necessarily accept our differences. We still have a long way to go and many hurdles to jump. Maybe we should add a color that symbolizes “Unity” because after all black and brown stripes do not represent our White, Asian and Native Americans brothers and sisters. We must stand together in our efforts to be inclusive, find a solution, and acknowledge the reasons for the efforts to change the flag—lets work together in “Unity” to end separatism and embrace “Unity."

— Rolando, Curator, The Box Gallery


Black and brown but why not the Jewish star? Read the article about the Chicago Pride people dismissing the Rainbow Flag with a Jewish star, which is the logo of the LGBT synagogue in Chicago. The Community gets some rights and the hate and divisiveness come out. I call them deplorable.

— Ruth Berman, LGBT activist


I am not opposed to the new flag colors if it would help bring more equality in our country for the LGBT community. I do not think that by changing it this way will help with that and I do not like the idea of changing the original rainbow flag that has been around for many years, very distinguishable and represents EVERYONE. I don't like the idea of separating the color of people in our community with "racial colors" on a flag - this creates separation. So in a nutshell I will not support it.

— Mark Silver, Fine Jewelry Designer


As a Hispanic gay man, I understand the struggle for inclusion, and I particularly understand the need to include the black and brown stripes.  There are many important and real reasons to drive home this point - just not as an effort to REPLACE the “Pride" flag.  The Pride flag was all about inclusion, and we have discussed the meaning of each color and the lack of an explicit reference to race in its original incarnation.

And yes, while over time the flag was altered by the lack of availability of some colors and then by the temporary alteration to reflect the AIDS pandemic, the existing flag remains an iconic symbol of worldwide inclusion. It could have been the official flag of “Sense8.”

According to the flag's creator (Gilbert Baker), the flying of the flag marked a kindred spirit whose space was welcoming and safe for all LGBTQ people (and of course that included black and brown people like me). It’s important to understand and respect our history and to not revise it or trade it off based on current emotions that may run high. We have such few symbols given our short history as a movement that taking the most iconic ones we have, and altering these to highlight other very real struggles, only dilutes our cause and fails to recognize and honor the efforts of the very people on whose shoulders we stand. Instead of honoring the flag’s creator (Gilbert Baker), who died just this year by making the current flag bigger, wider, stronger, brighter; we are dividing our movement and wasting resources and time debating simultaneously important, parallel issues over their imagery and its significance. There should be room enough in our movement for all of it without changing the Pride flag.

— Damian Pardo, Co-Founder of SAVE & Gay8 Festival, Board member of Stonewall National Museum & Our Fund 


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