Philadelphia redesigns Pride flag for people of color

Two stripes were added to the rainbow Pride flag in Philadelphia to address what they believe is racial inequality in the gay community (June 23, 2017)

Rainbow colors have been a symbol of strength and unity for the LGBTQ community since artist Gilbert Baker crafted it in 1978 for gay community activist Harvey Milk.

"Flags say something," Baker told ABC7 Bay Area earlier this year. "You put a rainbow flag on your windshield and you're saying something."

When gay marriage was legalized by a Supreme Court decision two years ago, rainbow colors lit up the White House and the Pride flag was flown from a window at California's state Capitol. 

The flag has been modified slightly over the years but the current rainbow flag contains six colors, each with distinct meaning: 

  • Red is for life
  • Orange is for healing
  • Yellow is for sunlight
  • Green is for nature
  • Blue is for peace and harmony
  • Violet is for spirit

Now, a new change to the flag is stirring debate online.

Officials with the City of Philadelphia's LGBTQ Affairs say the rainbow flag fails to recognize people of color in the gay community. As part of a city-sponsored campaign, black and brown stripes have been added to the iconic rainbow flag in order to represent people of color.

It was unveiled earlier this month and flown outside city hall. 

"It may seem like a small step. But together we can make big strides toward a truly inclusive community," the 'More Color, More Pride' campaign says in a statement on its website -- but some online are criticizing the campaign for turning the rainbow flag into a racial issue. 

"I'm unclear about the necessity of adding new stripes to the flag in order to make a statement about racial diversity," Wil Cohen said in a comment on the city's Facebook page. 

Do you think the divide is due to a disconnect in the message of the flag, or does it represent a deeper divide in the gay community? Join our coversation on ABC10's Facebook page

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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