For many people, Pride Month means proudly flying the rainbow flag that has come to represent the values, characteristics and freedom that we celebrate as a community.
Those rainbow stripes appear on dozens of products as corporate America seeks to join the celebration.
But a new campaign notes that not everyone is celebrating.
The folks at Out Not Down, a non-profit outreach program at Calvary-St. George’s Parish located in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood, have created the “Thrown Out Flag” initiative to bring added awareness to the fact that 40% of homeless teens who come out are thrown out of their homes.
The campaign features photos by Luke Gargano of homeless LGBTQ teens wrapped in tattered, ripped rainbow flags dubbed the “Thrown Out Flag.”
Made from discarded fabrics in traditional rainbow colors, the flags represent those teens who have also been thrown out of their homes.
Each tatter and tear is meant to tell the stories of their struggle for acceptance.
The campaign targeted teens living on the streets with outdoor posters, bus kiosks and even billboards in Times Square. Its goal was to alert at-risk youth to the services and resources provided at Out Not Down which include housing, counseling and healthcare.
There’s also an Instagram account (here) to promote the initiative.
Additionally, flags were sent out as invitations to people to attend a gathering where teens could meet caring adults and share their stories.
According to Out Not Down, teens who were discarded by their biological parents can find supportive ‘rainbow parents,’ social workers and doctors.
The message to homeless LGBTQ teens from Out Not Down is “just because you’ve been thrown out doesn’t mean you can’t pick yourself up again.”
Watch the short film about the campaign below, and then click over to OutNotDown.org for more information.