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: