Yesterday, the Rotary Staff Pride Network hosted an LGBTQ Pride themed trivia - for fun, yes, and also to raise awareness and education about LGBTQ history and current issues. It's still been floating around in my brain, and this morning I read this article in the Atlantic: The Pride Flag Has a Representation Problem
For those who may not be aware, the Pride flag has had quite a few transformations in its history. Last year, the colors of the trans flag and black and brown stripes were added (Progress Pride Flag
), in an effort to include Black, Brown, and trans people, who have long been marginalized by the mainstream LGBTQ+ movement. Even more recently
, Intersex Equality Rights UK, added a yellow triangle and purple circle to represent the intersex community, or people born with a reproductive anatomy that doesn't fit typical male or female definitions.
"'Flags as symbols facilitate sociality between strangers, inviting community between people who may never actually meet," Elliott Tilleczek, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto who is researching queer activism, told me. Tilleczek argued that expanding the symbolic range of the Pride flag, for example, can have real-world effects, enhancing intra- and intercommunal bonds by creating a sense of belonging: "Shared symbols … can interpolate people into a collective sense of community.'
But having a Pride flag to represent us contributes to the controversial idea that there is an us to represent."
One of the greatest, and also challenging, parts about the LGBTQ+ community is that each of the identities have their own unique characteristics and needs. They do share some qualities, but ultimately, the identities are incredibly unique. Tying them all together under one large umbrella (or flag), presents an idea that everything is the same - when that is not really the case.
Take this perspective, for instance:
"tacking the intersex symbol on to the Pride flag inaccurately lumps intersex issues together with the broader LGBTQ imagined community, noting that the experiences of intersex people are often invoked without context or complexity, ultimately benefiting no one."
So here's my question, as I think about all of this - what does it mean to be inclusive, and when does the spirit of inclusion muddy the waters of what the community is about? I am all for inclusion and inclusive behavior and language. And also, I recognize that one of the biggest benefits of community is knowing you have something solid in common with the folx in that community.
I've got so many thoughts to think, and I'm curious where y'all are at - let's discuss!