LGBT activists add colors to the pride flag to make it more inclusive — but they left one off

LGBT activists add colors to the pride flag to make it more inclusive — but they left one off
In Philadelphia, LGBT activists add brown and black stripes — but not white — to the iconic Pride flag, while claiming to be "inclusive." (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

LGBT activists raised a redesigned rainbow flag outside Philadelphia City Hall earlier this month to show their support for people of color who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender. The addition of one black stripe and one brown stripe to the rainbow flag came in the wake of a number of reported racial discrimination instances in the City of Brotherly Love in recent months, CNN reported.

Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs, together with the Philadelphia ad agency Tierney, unveiled a new pride flag as part of a broader campaign called More Color More Pride, aimed at recognizing non-white members of the LGBT community. The raising of the redesigned flag came at the beginning of June, which LGBT activists celebrate as Pride Month.

Amber Hikes, who CNN identified as a “black queer woman” and who is the director of Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs, called the raising of the new flag a “profound statement.” She said that “white people do not know what racism looks like, because that’s the definition of racism.”

“We say that we’re inclusive. We celebrate it. Now it’s time to go further,” the narrator said in a More Color More Pride video posted on YouTube.

“To broaden the horizons of our community. To change our iconic symbol … To not just talk about being inclusive, but to finally do it,” the narrator said.

One color that was noticeably missing from the newly redesigned “inclusive” pride flag, however, was white, the same color as the majority of U.S. individuals who actually identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. According to a 2013 Pew Research survey, 34 percent of the surveyed 1,197 LGBT adults in the U.S. identified as non-white. And 66 percent of respondents in the same survey identified as white.

According to a January report by the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, bars in Philadelphia’s historically gay neighborhood, called the “Gayborhood,” turned away a number of black customers for not complying with the dress code. The bars also reportedly required minority patrons to show multiple forms of identification to get in, WCAU-TV reported.

Gay Philadelphia resident Ernest Owens said he was patted down while entering a bar while white patrons were not patted down.

“[A]ll around while I can see other people in front of me get in with no problem. That kind of discrimination is very inhumane and derogatory. I really felt less than,” Owens told WCAU in January.

Following the release of the damming report, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney vowed to stand up against further discrimination in his city.

“Racism in the LGBTQ community is a real issue,” Kenney said in January. “It’s a real issue in our entire society, not only just in the LGBTQ area or in the Gayborhood. We need to do more to address it here in Philadelphia.”

Kenney vowed to “do whatever else we need to do” to make sure that the city adopted the report’s recommendations.

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