With Seattle City Hall flag raising, new stripes for Pride in 2018

Celebrating six years of raising the Pride flag over Seattle’s City Hall, the Seattle LGBTQ Commission, in partnership with SEqual Seattle, and Mayor Jenny Durkan unveiled a new Pride flag Friday featuring five additional colors.

As the conversation of gender spectrum and people of color grows in prominence within the LGBTQ/queer community, the Seattle LGBT Commission aimed at representing all aspects of the community in one, increasingly inclusive flag.

The event organizers explain the inspiration behind the updated flag:

The black and brown stripes represent people of color – and the pink, light blue and white stripes represent trans, gender non-binary, intersex and folks across the gender spectrum. These particular communities within the LGBTQ+ umbrella are often made invisible and disproportionately impacted by discrimination, but are integral to our community. We want to center those communities both symbolically and in daily engagement through our commission.

The flag, now featuring black, brown, blue, pink, and white stripes makes for an eleven-striped Pride flag. Originally designed in 1978 by artist Gilbert Baker in San Francisco, the flag featured the visible colors of the rainbow and the color pink, totaling 8 stripes of color.

Although the flag has gone through various small changes over the years (removal of colors based on fabric availability, recent versions omit pink), the colors include pink, red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, indigo, and violet. The colors symbolized LGBT identity and solidarity, representing sex, life, healing, sunlight, nature, magic/art, serenity, and spirit, respectively.

Philadelphia was the first city to raise an updated Pride flag last summer, theirs augmented with black and brown stripes atop the existing rainbow. The announcement sparked online debate over interpretation of the flag’s old and new interpretations within the queer community.

Friday’s event was hosted by the Seattle LGBTQ Commission with a number of guest speakers including the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and local music performances.

Mayor Jenny Durkan, Seattle’s first female mayor in over a century, and the first openly lesbian mayor of Seattle, spoke at the event highlighting the community’s progresses over the years but also gaps in that progress, from trans military bans to comments made by the president.

“The fights we are having today are just wrong,” Durkan said. “We have to move forward and go together. And the only way we are going to do it is to take that rainbow and make sure that everyone understands that with unity, we can be better. With unity, we can move forward. And with unity, we can show we’re the best city, in the best state, in what can be the best country.”

She also acknowledged Pride 2018’s new stripes.

“And I’m so proud when we raise that flag, we’re going to be raising a flag that for once has the colors of our black and brown brothers and sisters, and trans colors, so our rainbow is even more beautiful than before,” Durkan said.

Durkan ended her speech officially proclaiming June as “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Pride Month,” an update reflecting the same sentiments of the new flag. The organizers and attendees gathered around the old Pride flag, and waved it before moving upstairs to raise the new flag.

Members of the crowd took turns helping Durkan to raise the flag and posing for photo ops. Durkan wished everyone a fun and safe Pride celebration this month.

Capitol Hill’s month of Pride gets off to its traditional tidy start Sunday with the annual Clean Sweep event starting in Cal Anderson Park:

Clean Sweep 2018


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16 thoughts on “With Seattle City Hall flag raising, new stripes for Pride in 2018

    • They already were mostly messed up (especially 11th & Pine as they did street work on top of them). I hate them in general. “Hey, let’s celebrate Pride by having people walk on top of it.” Whatever. Pride is about the people not paint.

    • I love the 5-color flag, and love that those 5 colors represent – as a whole – inclusivity. but now we have 2 colors which each represent ethnicities, and 3 colors which represent specific categories of the gender spectrum.

      At this point the 11-color pride flag is an inconsistent mess of how it represents things, and when it is used. Even in the above ceremony, they hung the 11-color flag, but used the 6-color flag in the event.

      • @Andrew. First of all the rainbow flag you are referencing is 6 colors, not 5. And secondly, what you call an “inconsistent mess” is a representation of intersectionality. The rainbow flag is not the trans flag. That requires the 3 more strips. You don’t get to call the rainbow flag LGBT when it doesn’t include T. And people of color are underrepresented and pushed aside within the LGBT communities often, so those stripes make people of color more visible. You can call it an inconsistent mess and by extension want an insular, exclusive so-called community. I call it reality of genuine diversity. And your comment proves why this change to a flag is needed. Obviously, and as noted in the article, there is an expense involved in making the new flag. And despite your fears, they are not going to go out and destroy all rainbow flags, so yes, there was also a rainbow flag. That’s fine. You are resisting what the edited flag means so you need to look within at what your relationship to trans and POC is in terms of community visibility, respect and validity. People have multiple identities and just asking people to celebrate one aspect of themselves is asking someone to split themselves apart for someone else’s benefit. That is unacceptable. Also, a flag is there to raise conversation and questions and create dialogue. And this one doesn’t destroy the rainbow, it adds to it as reflective of reality. Your comment is typical of people who can’t handle change and sharing power. You are part of the problem. I hope you change to be more inclusive and understanding.

  1. Wah! I want a color for old people, because we are marginalized too! Gray please. And if you don’t like the idea, you’re a hater and bigot and tool of the oppression.

    • I agree. The original, rainbow flag is symbolic of inclusivity for all gay categories, so adding more stripes for specific groups is redundant. The new one is all about political correctness.

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