Philadelphia – One LGBTQ export is uniquely Philadelphia’s, and it has grown steadily more popular and relevant this year: the black and brown-striped rainbow flag. For the month of June, the Philadelphia Pride flag was shown across the country, raised in front of government buildings, donned by people participating in virtual pride events, and hung in the windows of homes. Most recently, the flag has been used in Black Lives Matter protests in myriad cities. “When I introduced this flag in 2017 to uplift the voices and experiences of LGBTQ people of color,” Amber Hikes said on Instagram, “I couldn’t have imagined its global impact three years later. Let this be a reminder that if your Pride isn’t intersectional – if it isn’t protest, it’s irrelevant. The revolution is now.”

The inclusive “More Color, More Pride” flag was created by the Philadelphia Office of LGBT Affairs in partnership with local advertising agency Tierney, and it was introduced at a City Hall ceremony in June 2017. Despite Hikes receiving hate mail and death threats following its unveiling, the flag’s usage grew steadily. In 2019, the flag was broadcast on the season finale of the television show “Pose.” This year, it was placed on Nike and Converse sneakers.

When Manchester, England, decided to use the flag during their 2019 Pride celebration, it prompted a debate which has occurred since the flag’s creation: What, and who, should the fight for LGBTQ equality include? Some people felt that the flag should represent only sexuality, while others embraced the idea of greater representation and solidarity. Hikes addressed the idea of solidarity, writing that this year “we are at a moment where the intersection of our identities and oppressions are front and center. Our country is finally waking up to the realities of violence, injustice, and inequities that black people have experienced and died from for the last 400 years in this country – and that awakening is happening during Pride. We are at this moment where so many people now understand the need for an LGBTQ flag that centers black lives, voices, and leadership.” The rainbow Pride flag has been evolving since its creation in 1978 by Gilbert Baker. Daniel Quasar, a graphic designer in Portland, Oregon, created a rainbow flag that includes both black and brown stripes as well as the colors of the transgender flag. (Philadelphia Gay News – Jason Villemez at Epgn.com/2020/07/08/phillys-pride-flag-makes-waves-around-the-world)