A new campaign, "More Color More Pride," which seeks to represent the non-white LGBTQ communities in the broader pride movement, unveiled a new flag at a recent Pride Month kick-off event in Philadelphia.
The campaign has introduced the black and the brown stripes atop the traditional six colors in the LGBTQ flag designed by artist Gilbert Baker in 1978. The newly-added stripes represent individuals of color and make the flag more inclusive.
Amber Hikes, a Black queer activist, told the Philadelphia Gay News, “Seeing an image like this flag instills so much pride in me as a queer Black woman … when I see the flag, I feel like I see myself.”
According to the campaign site, the changes in the flag reflect the current times. The new design of the flag has been made by a Philadelphia-based ad agency, Tierney, with Hikes as the executive director.
According to Hikes, Philadelphia is the first city to publicly and symbolically recognize racial discrimination within the LGBT community.
"To see this at City Hall is such a profound statement," Hikes told CNN.
To fuel this important conversation, we’ve expanded the colors of the flag to include black and brown," the campaign reads. “It may seem like a small step. But together we can make big strides toward a truly inclusive community.”
According to CNN, multiple instances of racial discrimination have been reported within the past year, like the discriminatory dress code policies at local bars. A leaked video of a nightclub owner saying a racial slur was also reported in Philadelphia's downtown gay neighborhood, also known as the Gayborhood. The campaign is one of the ways of addressing these types of discrimination.
Hikes is already noticing an impact on the communities in Philadelphia. "Right off the bat, it has absolutely started a conversation, certainly in this city and beyond," she told CNN. Local governments, citizens, and community groups from cities like Miami, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago are already reaching out to her in appreciation of the move.
According to a 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center, 34 percent of LGBT survey respondents identified as non-white and the white respondents were more optimistic about society's acceptance of LGBTQ individuals than those who were non-white.
Baker, the creator of the rainbow flag who died in March, based the flag on different elements.
“Pink is for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for the sun,” Baker had told ABC7. “Green for nature, turquoise for magic, blue for serenity and purple based on different elements for the spirit. I like to think of those elements as in every person, everyone shares that.”