…otherwise known as GHHD1 Gay High Holy Day #1 is this month. And again this year we see people in a pissing match about changes to the Pride flag. It’s downright embarrassing at times. While I tend to avoid the keyboard warrior approach, after more than a few disparaging comments, I have a few thoughts….
Claiming the flag was designed in its original form to include everyone, while technically true, is irrelevant. If you actually knew your “herstory,” you would know it was changed almost immediately after it came out. It is not sacrosanct. And nowhere did the original creator say or even infer the flag should never be changed. The only constant in life is everything changes. The flag is what we make it.
I personally like the original version only for its simplicity. It calls to me with the meaning and design. I also originally liked the idea of keeping it the same, but I listened, I learned, and I understand better now. Not so hard really And considering how co-opted the flag has become by corporations, who just want our money, I also like the idea of the new variations.
And I’m about to step on some feelings here, but it’s meant as tough love. Exactly why is it most of the complaints are coming from cis white gay men (CWGM)? Mmhmmmmmm? If you don’t like the variations of the flag then use the one you like. No one is forcing you to do otherwise. Like seriously, how are you in any way harmed? The older I get the more I wish white people in general would just shut the hell up. Lawd, we have such thin skins on just about everything.
A lot of CWGM feel attacked anytime someone calls out how often our PoC, Trans, Non-binary cousins etc aren’t as accepted in our community. And it’s good you still feel uncomfortable, it means there is still good in you. But, it is time to stop pussyfooting around and own our part. I say our because I am a CWGM. If I can learn and grow so can you. Channel those feelings in the pit of your stomach into something useful. And a word to the wise, you can disassociate any personal involvement because you’re not one of the bad gays, but that doesn’t erase the issue. You can do better by just closing your mouth, taking a seat, and listening.
You have to ask yourself, is it any real surprise many groups in our alphabet mafia lovingly borrowed from TikTok don’t feel included? CWGM have spent decades using phrases like “no fats, no fems, no black, asians, straight acting only, etc“. How can you be shocked these same groups do not feel recognized? We don’t want lesbians in our bars. We don’t want trans men in our play spaces. We don’t want fem men virtually anywhere, except drag. Come on! Deep down you know why. These stigmas persist even today all over this country.
Being gay didn’t erase racism or the privilege many CWGM are afforded in society. And while you can’t always control that, it’s ok to acknowledge and accept it. You don’t need to get your knickers in a twist just because someone calls it out. Let that uncomfortable awkward feeling guide you to do better. If we did a better job making others feel included instead of “less than” us, maybe they wouldn’t need or want their own version of the pride flag. Frankly, collectively they outnumber us so be grateful the shoe isn’t on the other foot.
So… I humbly ask anyone reading this to try a different path. Instead of complaining about what the flag should be, just accept that no one person owns the Pride flag. Nor does any single group in our community own the flag. You don’t get to tell others what the Pride flag means to them. You don’t get to tell them they can’t make changes. Instead, use whatever version you feel connected too and let others do the same. /rant
I’ll most likely be working on Pride this year. While I have my issues with the commercialization of Pride, with recent events it is clear we still very much need it. I volunteered for the field detail overseeing medical dispatch for the fair. I have worked it for years prior to the pandemic. After the lockdowns, I’m now eager to be out there again seeing the sea of faces.
Whatever your path, I wish you a happy, safe AND inclusive Pride.
And as always, hope springs eternal….