Is Explaining Philly’s POC Pride Flag As A Regional Variation Hurting The Debate?

I'm not black.  I am from a French Canadian heritage, was raised as a Roman Catholic, and spent my first 39 years living in Maine.  I knew I was gay since I was in the third grade and the ROYGBV rainbow flag is the pride flag I grew up with and recognize. 

Most if not all of that would most likely exclude me from making any comments or sense about the people of color (POC) rainbow flag variation that has sparked tons of debate this pride season. The addition by a group in Philadelphia of the Black and Brown stripes to the currently used ROYGBV Pride flag has not been a sight welcomed by all.

Philadelphia is one of my favorite cities to visit and enjoy. I know there is racial tension there. During one of my last trips, I stumbled upon a protest in the street out front of Woody's bar.  Police were present and bullhorns were screeching. There is a great deal of racial tension in gay communities across this nation and others.  Philadelphia just happens to have a POC community that has been able to vocalize their position more so than others.

The Advocate with its article If You Hate the New Pride Flag, You're the Problem, may have fueled the debate a little with their semi- "click bait" of a title saying we have a New Pride Flag.  In the article, the author clarifies that this is just a local variation of the flag and not a push to change it for all QUEER-kind. 

People don't like change.  But if you're "one of those kinds of people" that don't like the black and brown stripes being added, Advocate contributor Amanda Kerri clearly knows what demographic you belong to, so don't worry.


If it really irks you that people of color wanted to feel represented on a Pride flag, you need to rethink your battle plans, because this is a stupid hill to die on. People of color really have been marginalized and pushed aside in our community, and if you don’t think that’s true, I can probably guess what color skin you have — and no, spray tan is not a skin color. If giving POC their own Pride flag helps them feel welcome, then what the hell should it matter? There are flags for trans, bi, lesbian, bears, allies, leathers, bears; I mean, for God’s sake, there’s probably a flag for queer furries who are only into left-handed Jewish people. If people of color want to have their own Pride flag, let them. The fact that you’re so uptight that they want something as simple as a minor symbol of acceptance says more about you than any sort of “social justice warrior/political correctness run amok.”

There’s something very telling in the reaction to the new Pride flag as well as the impetus for it. I know that the rainbow flag is supposed to cover everyone in the community — black, white, indigenous, Asian, gay, bi, trans, etc. — but when some people feel they have to do something like this to draw attention to their unique issues, it shows we’ve all failed in some regard. We’ve overlooked something, we haven’t been listening, and we haven’t been supporting each other, and so we aren’t really a rainbow. In fact, instead of putting the stripes on one end of the flag, I would have stuck them right in the middle where everyone can see. Why? Because I see this as not just a way of calling attention, but a way to unsettle those who are a little too out of touch. –


To be honest, when I first saw the Bisexual Pride flag, I was a little confused.  My first thoughts were why did they need their own flag and doesn't the rainbow flag represent us all already?  My, how that Bisexual pride flag flew during Tel Aviv Pride this year with its theme "Bisexuality: Let It B" (TRAVEL THURSDAY: We Are Still Recovering From Our Trip To Israel And Tel Aviv Pride).  It was beautiful, commanded respect, and represented a wonderful part of our QUEER community.  My first response to the Bisexual flag years ago seems to be the same as the overwhelming response to the BBROYGBV rendition.

There were some "colorful" and not so friendly responses to the new POC BBROYGBV flag. Examples were:

  • Where's the white stripe?  Some compared that comment to the Black Lives Matter / All Lives Matter counterpoint.
  • Does the yellow stripe represent the Asians? Oh yes, it was said.  As well as trying to figure out what race or ethnicity was represented by the other colors.
  • Should we get rid of the red stripe since that's for the more "Straight Acting White" gays which are part of the racist problem in our community? Have to place the blame somewhere, right?

It seemed that now, every color was under fire since two new ones were being added.

Related Post – Rainbow Flag Doesn't Mean What It Did? No Longer Represents Everyone?

Even the placement of the Brown and Black stripes was in question.  Why are they above all other colors?  Why aren't they at the bottom?  Even the Advocate contributor mentioned:

In fact, instead of putting the stripes on one end of the flag, I would have stuck them right in the middle where everyone can see. –


Here is #MoreColorMorePride video sharing why these additions to the rainbow flag occurred.



I've discussed (some will say argue) this issue with many of my friends. Some saying that it is about time for change.  Others point out also that there were other colors before, why not new ones now?

My white, non-practicing Roman Catholic, New England ass was not going to win many debates on this.  But when I shared this video recently on my Facebook page, I noticed that many of my POC friends on Facebook made positive comments, likes, and loves.



Some say that this woman's opinion does not matter since she is straight and has no reason to comment on this debate.  Another friend stated she was wrong in thinking that this is a permanent Pride flag for the entire community. Didn't most think that way.  I think she made some interesting points about racism and the current anti-racism movements.

It's always good to debate.  You get to hear other sides of the topic at hand, how others feel, and also address a concern you may not have thought about before. The fact that we are talking about the racism that exists in the QUEER community now more than ever is a good thing.  It's a great thing. The addition of two stripes to a locally flown piece of cloth has sparked awareness and chatter nation and world wide.

But the more the debate clarifies that this BBROYGBV is a regional flag addressing a city's issue, the more we come closer to having this care about racial inequality in the QUEER community be a flash in the pan. Pride done. Summer over. Flags down. Debate ended.

I initially had a different title for this article.  It was "Phew!  White Gays Rejoice!  It's Just A Variation Of The Flag And Not Really For Everyone."  I feel this may be how some in our community are responding to this POC Pride flag debate. 

There's my thoughts.  What are yours, Instincters? 

The debate has started.  Where will it end? 

Will we continue to talk about racial tension in the QUEER community?

Or will we say, bravo Philly on your new Pride flag, we'll keep ours just the way it is.





8 thoughts on “Is Explaining Philly’s POC Pride Flag As A Regional Variation Hurting The Debate?”

  1. I’m about as inclusive and supportive as a person can be. But frankly all the labels, all the flags, the change in the meanings of pronouns is getting really hard to keep up with and getting more confusing each day. And I, unlike Trump, do have a genius IQ. I’m not saying everyone shouldn’t have their own flag/label/pronouns. But if bisexuals, transsexuals, gender queer, asexuals, pansexual and anyone I haven’t mentioned by name at 3am want to leave the LGBTQ Family and OUR flag go for it, but then you have to stop using OUR flag. We fought and so many of us have been injured or died getting us as many of our Rights as we have. We are all family damn it! But if you want a divorce we get the flag and you can keep the BTI-ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ. We can shorten it back to G&L.We didn’t make the flag Blue and Pink, we made it rainbow colored for all of us non-heteronormatives. It’s rather insulting that OUR Pride flag isn’t good enough for you any more, but we will get over it. As for the pronouns, I understand. I really do. But you are confusing almost everyone else who wants to support you. You are creative folks and smart folk or you wouldn’t have figured yourselves out. Instead of co-opting words (trust us, taking an antiquated word like gay and co-opting it was a pain in the ass-let alone ones still in common use), let’s make new ones for you. He/She/Shey or Her/Him/Shim or whatever you all want. But since you are not defined by our current lingo come up with new ones so we understand you are special (and you are to us, your G&L former flag siblings) and not just illiterate. It is just too confusing. We have been fighting for all of US for a long time. But if the rainbow 6 color flag (we already lost 2 colors for simplicity) and all our groundwork and loss isn’t enough for you. Fly and be free. We will wish you all the best from the deepest part of our hearts. But you can’t have our non-heteronormative flag, it stays with those of us who are family. You will be missed, but we’ll see you at the barricades and on holidays.

  2. It’s just ugly.  And it’s not

    It's just ugly.  And it's not a POC flag; it is POC added to the Pride Flag. They deserve their own flag, don't they?  Not just to be added on as an after thought. Surely someone could design something more aesthetically pleasing than…this. 

  3. I understand the thought

    I understand the thought behind changing the flag, and in theory agree with it,  but also feel the flag was fine as it is. However, saying if you don't like the change you are part of the problem is arrogant at best. Sometimes in the effort to become inclusive we actually exclude.

  4. It’s an INTERNATIONAL symbol.

    It's an INTERNATIONAL symbol. You have problems with race in the US, why should we change the flag in every single country, just because race is such a heated issue in the US? The flag is used in majority black countries, Asia, Europe, the rest of the world, etc. Sure, racism exists in many other countries, to varying degrees, but way to take an American problem and project it to the rest of the world. Other countries exist. They have their own issues. America's race problem is not something for the entire world to face. Get off the stage, US, there are other countries with their own problems and no one is trying to change the pride flag to reflect that.

    • You are spot on Glow! I was

      You are spot on Glow! I was going to write something similar. Our community is global, it is far from perfect there is discrimination based on age, race, body shape etc. But there are bigger GLOBAL issues we as a community should prioritise such as the camps in parts of Russia, violence and murders of gay "identified" people in many parts of the world. There are many killed and tortured daily around the world for non conformity to straight norms. The flag should be an International rallying point for a GLOBAL community as it was intended and not a tool for wider American social issues.

  5. Then white would have to be

    Then white would have to be added to represent that's not about our skin color ..I always saw it as rainbow when you see one you have hope and vigor..that's it..I never saw it as representing skin color. Gay isn't about color it's about sexual cops won't walk in pride parades..come on ..we are going backwards not forward. We move forward not seprate. 

  6. The Pride Flag is most

    The Pride Flag is most commonly flown with the red stripe on top, as the colors appear in a natural rainbow. Aside from the obvious symbolism of a mixed LGBT community, the colors were determined to symbolize: life (red), healing (orange), sunlight (yellow), nature (green), harmony/peace (blue), and spirit (purple/violet).

    Notice the use of the word MIXED…that includes all peoples of all colors!

    And considering that the original designer, Gilbert Baker, just died this year, we should leave the flag as it was originally designed as a tribute to him! Again, we are all entitled to our opinion so this is just mine. I am Asian!

    If black and brown LGBT people have been left out, changing a flag is not going to change that — only WE can!!!

  7. It isn’t a regional flag. It

    It isn't a regional flag. It's an affirmation that some people just need to feel alienated not accepted and angry.. I wish they would notice that acceptance is within oneself it's not given by others.

    And I also wish they would consider whether they're pissing on the graves of thousands and thousands of dead men and women



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