Join StARS in Celebrating PRIDE

The StARS committee, in partnership with Rainbow Railroad, is taking its first step into the initial sponsorship stage of preparing for and welcoming a refugee who self identifies as LGBTQI.  As June is PRIDE month, we thought we’d share the history of the most recognized symbol of pride for the gay community.

The PRIDE Flag:

In Nazi Germany, the symbol of the pink triangle was used to identify and subsequently persecute homosexual individuals.  In the 1970s, the gay community reclaimed the symbol as their own, displaying it as a symbol of both remembrance of atrocities committed and bold action against persecution.

The same decade, Gilbert Baker of Kansas arrived in San Francisco and met Harvey Milk, who would become the first openly gay person in a major US city to hold a prominent position in a public office.  Milk challenged Baker, an artist experienced at working with textiles among other media, to create a symbol of pride for the gay community.

Baker designed and, with the help of volunteers, sewed several flags comprising eight strips of hand-dyed vibrant coloured fabric: hot pink stood for sexuality, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for the sun, green for nature, turquoise blue for art, indigo for harmony and violet for spirit.  Over time, the flag was reduced to six colours, with both pink and indigo eliminated.  Since early 2000, eight-strip flags were resurrected and soon became widely available.

More recently, in 2018, Daniel Quasar added a new flag to the mix.  Called the “Progress Pride Flag” it includes black and brown stripes to represent people of colour, and baby blue, pink and white stripes to represent the transgender community.  While Quasar stated the Progress Pride Flag was intended as a supplement to, rather than a replacement of Baker’s designs, in light of increased awareness of racial and sexual discrimination during the pandemic, many have shifted to using Quasar’s design to represent their commitment to greater inclusivity.