Since 1978, when it was designed by San Franciscan Gilbert Baker, the rainbow flag has symbolized the beauty and pride of what was then mostly recognized as the gay and lesbian community. Over the years, the community’s self-definition has expanded to include people of all sexual orientations, sexes, gender identities, and gender expressions. By hanging the flag in front of UUCPA on Sunday mornings for many years, we have declared to the world that we celebrate the diversity of human life, just as the Earth flag that hangs beside it declares our respect for the interdependent web of all life.
When the flags needed replacing this spring due to their gradual bleaching by the sun, Amy and the Welcoming Congregation team conferred and decided that we would make the new rainbow flag one that represented the greater inclusiveness of the LGBTQIA+ community. At first we looked at the Progress Pride flag, which was designed by Daniel Quasar, who added colors to represent “trans individuals (light blue, light pink, white), marginalized POC communities (brown, black), as well as those living with AIDS, those no longer living, and the stigma surrounding them (black).” Quasar added, “the arrow points to the right to show forward movement, while being along the left edge shows that progress still needs to be made.”
We Unitarian Universalists are on the same journey of progress, hopeful and always seeking to broaden our welcome to include more people, broaden our searching hearts to include more truth, broaden our understanding to encompass more experiences. As a trans member of the congregation said of the Progress Pride symbol, “To trans people and younger queer people, it sends a stronger message of inclusion. When I see a rainbow flag on a church, I don’t take it for granted that they have any awareness of trans issues; if I saw this flag on a church I’d never been to before, I would feel somewhat more assured that it would be a place where I would be welcome.” We will continue to strive to live up to this ideal.
And so we decided on the intersex-inclusive Progress Pride flag designed by intersex human rights activist Valentino Vecchietti. The intersex symbol, which was designed by Morgan Carpenter, is a purple circle on a yellow field. Those two colors were chosen because they don’t have established gender associations, and the circle, Carpenter says, is “unbroken and unornamented, symbolizing wholeness and completeness, and our potentialities.”
In addition to Sundays around the year, the flag will be up during daylight hours every day during the month of June to celebrate Pride Month, if we can rally enough folks to make it happen. If you might be able to volunteer to put it up one or more mornings, or take it down one or more evenings, please drop the Welcoming Congregation Renewal team a note.