Adam Dupuis's picture

What Does Each Stripe On The Raibow Flag Mean? Do You Know What You're Changing?

In 1978, Harvey Milk, San Francisco city supervisor and the first openly gay man elected to public office in California, tasked artist and activist Gilbert Baker with creating an emblem of the queer community. The goal was to replace the pink triangle, a symbol that has negative ties to the Nazis an its use to identify homosexuals.

The original flag had eight stripes, however there have been many iterations since. When the rainbow pride flag was unveiled in 1978, its colors were hot pink, red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, indigo and violet.

Each stripe of the original flag has a meaning.  The colors that are no longer present on the Pride flag and their meanings are:

Hot Pink for sex
Turquoise for magic

We're not sexual and magical anymore? What!?!

After the assassination of gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk on November 27, 1978, demand for the rainbow flag greatly increased. To meet demand, the Paramount Flag Company began selling a version of the flag using stock rainbow fabric with seven stripes: red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, blue, and violet. As Baker ramped up production of his version of the flag, he too dropped the hot pink stripe because of the unavailability of hot-pink fabric. Also, San Francisco-based Paramount Flag Co. began selling a surplus stock of Rainbow Girls flags from its retail store on the southwest corner of Polk and Post, at which Gilbert Baker was an employee.[14]

In 1979 the flag was modified again. When hung vertically from the lamp posts of San Francisco’s Market Street, the center stripe was obscured by the post itself. Changing the flag design to one with an even number of stripes was the easiest way to rectify this, so the turquoise stripe was dropped, which resulted in a six stripe version of the flag — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. - Gilbertbaker.com

The remaining colors meanings are: 

Red for life
Orange for healing
Yellow for sunlight
Green for nature
Blue for harmony or serenity
Purple for spirit.

So when it comes to the Pride Flag not representing you, what are you saying? Which one of the colors is not representing you? 

When the transgender flag was triangulated and over the left side of the rainbow flag, didn't it make you think, how are we mixing in the bisexuals, the asexuals, the gender fluids, oh, and hey, the lesbians?  When you add a different color stripe to the flag to signify a race, ethnicity, where are all the others? What about a color for the fats, the femmes, the Asians?

"When you convenience yourself, you inconvenience others." 

It is a motto I live by, it is a motto I share with people that are doing hurtful things, and it is something we all need to hear again. "When you convenience yourself, you inconvenience others." To borrow a lesson learned from the Prodigal Son fable, when you put yourself in the place of honor, know that someone will soon follow that deserves it more than you.  When you start adding this badge and that badge, this stripe and that stripe, please remove the BLUE stripe for you've just degraded its meaning.  To remind you, BLUE stands for harmony. 

This has been the opinion of this writer and former teacher and is not the opinion of the Magazine or the other contributing writers.

And since I was a teacher and am still involved in academia, here's a little homework assignment. See if you can identify all the different subsections our rainbow family has and then develop one flag to represent them all.  Here's a video to help you in your homework. And if you need a sample from a previous student, look at the pic at the beginning of this post.  Test your knowledge over at https://www.myumbrella.org.uk/identities

 


Once again, this has been the opinion of this writer and is not the opinion of the Magazine or the other contributing writers.