There’s absolutely no historical evidence that “queer, trans, brown, poor, people of color” were “here first” (if by “here” you mean what happened at the Stonewall Inn in late June 1969). The crowd that first night, and for days after, were multi-ethnic, multi-racial, and multi-gendered. And, what happened at Stonewall built on decades of activism by others: most white, some not; most cis, some not; some poor, some less poor.

Claims of primacy in LGBT history are almost always factually inaccurate and a waste of time. No one wins the Oppression Olympics.

Also, if the pride flag isn’t important, why is there any effort to change it or objection to proposed changes? Symbols matter, that’s why. Tinkering with one of our few historical symbols without some careful thought about its present and past value is both reckless and self-destructive. If it were a statue of a Confederate general, I’d have an entirely different position. But I’m still waiting for someone to show me how Baker’s flag is in any way exclusionary, racist, or transphobic….especially since it’s been adopted as a symbol (read: including by a huge number of people of color and gender-variant people) of the worldwide LGBT rights movement.

But, then, if Baker’s rainbow flag is some kind of irredeemably and inherently oppressive symbol — of racism, classism, and transphobia — why is it being used as the basis for the two new proposed flags? And so many others symbolizing gender and sexual minority groups (as partially listed in my story)? This is but another example of the conceptual problems with the two new designs.

Finally, I don’t have a problem with anyone designing a new flag. I have a problem with proposals to replace Gilbert Baker’s rainbow flag, especially with the two flags I describe in my story (*shudder*). For crying out loud, the Philadelphia flag was designed by an ADVERTISING AGENCY! How is that in any way authentic to LGBTQ community? At least Daniel Quasar’s flag has the virtue of being home-grown…

But unless any new flag is both conceptually sophisticated and aesthetically beautiful I don’t expect it to enjoy wide currency or replace Baker’s original design.

Professional homosexual. Professor. Writer. Scholar. Activist. Husband.

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