As we celebrate Pride Month, we are also taking the opportunity to recognize the need to work towards a better and more inclusive society. One of the ways we can do that is by using the Progress Pride Flag in all our celebrations!
The Progress Pride Flag, was designed by Daniel Quasar, a non-binary artist and graphic designer from Oregon, in 2018. It combines the Rainbow Pride Flag with the Transgender Flag along with black and brown stripes that represent Black, Indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC) in the 2SLGBTQ+ community as well as community members who have died from, or are currently living with, HIV/AIDS. Quasar designed the flag to emphasize on the need for inclusion and progression.
The history of Pride goes back to 1969, when homosexuality and dressing in drag were considered illegal. The first step towards progress started with the Stonewall Riots in New York City that sparked an uprising for decriminalization, inspiring the beginnings of a community. Homosexuality was decriminalized in Canada in 1969 and the country held its first Gay Pride Parade in 1971. Canada and America have come a long way in the fight for 2SLGBTQ+ rights, and Daniel Quasar’s design was inspired by that progress, shaping the Transgender Flag colors along with the black and brown stripes into an arrow pointing forward, while placing the triangle on the left edge to remind us that we still have a long way to go.
What the Colors of the Pride Flag Mean
The pride flag colors each hold a different meaning, and each color represents an important value of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. Let’s take a look at what each of the rainbow colors represents.
The red in the flag represents life. This makes sense if you think about how blood is red and how often blood is thought of as a vital life force of the body. Red also represents passion among many cultures. And, passion is ideally where life originates from.
Orange represents healing. As a color, orange is believed to be a fun and celebratory color. Fun and celebration are both healing activities.
If you guessed that yellow represented sunlight, you would be correct. The color yellow functions as the flag’s radiant and bright center. The color yellow is said to stimulate new ideas and thoughts.
There’s a lot of green in nature, which is what this color on the original pride flag is meant to convey. Nature is a healing place, and the color green is associated with prosperity and growth.
The indigo or blue in the original pride flag was for serenity. Little is more important than the ability to feel calm and serene. Blue is known as a relaxing color that soothes the soul. The color blue is often used to represent bedtime and calmness.
The last color, violet (or purple) represents spirit. Purple is often thought of as a regal, royal color that, on its own, denotes pride. Like blue, purple is considered a calming color, but rather than being associated only with calm, the color purple connects us to the spiritual realm.
The Meaning of the New Progress Pride Flag
The new Progress Pride Flag includes new colors and a new design that are meant to represent people of color, as well as people who are transgender, intersex, or non-binary.
Black and Brown Represents People of Color
The colors black and brown were added to the Progress Pride Flag to represent people of color (POC). This was an important addition because people of color have often been left out of the queer narrative despite being the driving force behind the movement.
It wasn’t until recent years that our society acknowledged that the pride movement originated thanks to Black trans activists such as Marsha P. Johnson, who notoriously fought back against police at the Stonewall Inn in June of 1969. The Stonewall riot members were mostly people of color, and many were trans.
With the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, culture at large began to shift in a much-needed way towards acknowledging the vital roles that people of color have had in our society. The pride movement background is one of many areas where POC, particularly Black people, did not receive the recognition they deserved historically. Adding colors to represent them on the flag is one way to change that.
Additionally, the black and brown stripes are meant to represent people living with HIV/AIDS, those who have died from it, and the stigma around the virus that is still present in our society now.
Pink, Baby Blue, and White Represent Trans People
Traditionally, the colors pink and baby blue have been used to represent whether a baby is a boy or a girl. Here, the colors denote those genders. The color white represents people who are transitioning, intersex, or identify outside of the gender binary.
The flag is meant to provide affirmation for trans people no matter how it is flown, with either side on top.
Color Placement and a New Shape
The word “progress” in the new flag isn’t only about adding the new colors to it. It’s also because of the shape, which differs from the original design of horizontal stripes only. The Progress Pride Flag shows the white, pink, baby blue, black, and brown stripes in a triangle shape, with the old six-color rainbow stacked next to them.
This was done intentionally to convey the separation in meaning and shift focus to how important the issues represented on the left are.
The placement of the new colors in an arrow shape is meant to convey the progress still needed. Quasar spoke publicly about how work is still needed in terms of POC and trans rights. This arrow design is meant to highlight that.
Normalizing the use of the Progress Pride Flag shows that we are open to the change needed to build a more inclusive society. It shows that people who have been marginalized and forgotten are being seen, and that they too form our community.
While we continue to celebrate and acknowledge how far we’ve come, we will continue to work towards inclusion by using the Progress Pride Flag, showing our support for the trans and BIPOC members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community. The Pride committee invites you to our Pride Trivia and Treats event on Wednesday, June 14 from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. to sign up to march with WCH in the Trans March, Dyke March, and/or Pride Parade.
For more information on our Pride Programming, visit the United with Pride web hub.