What The Pride Flag Symbolizes For Me: An Essay
“I’ve been embraced by a new community. That’s what happens when you’re finally honest about who you are; you find others like you.”–Chaz Bono
In 1978, Gilbert Baker created the rainbow flag to represent gay pride. In an article written and published by CBS Chicago, Baker said, “The rainbow came to mind almost instantly as an obvious expression of diversity and acceptance.” Today the flag is the symbol of LGBTQ Pride. Of course, this isn’t just for gays; it’s also a sign for gay allies, or just for people who enjoy rainbows. The flag started as an idea, a creation by a man who wanted to create something. Inspired by San Fransisco and Harvey Milk the flag was made with Baker’s bare hands and creative ambition.
It’s amazing how something as simple as a flag means something different to so many people. This piece of cloth is protection for some and a banner of pride for others. This flag has more meaning than just gay pride, it defines a community of acceptance and love. This flag literally means, “Love is Love.”
I remember as a kid always playing house with my best friends and being very open to kissing and hugging my play wife. I remember, not questioning those playtimes because it was fun, and felt nice. Of course, those times were innocent, there was no deeper meaning to them other than girls having a good time. Or maybe it was who I was then. I grew older and was boy crazy, still playing pretend with my girlfriends. I still didn’t associate any of those times with lesbianism or being queer. The older I got the more things started to make sense.
When I was a teenager, things got more serious, girls started wanting to kiss me more intimately. We would “practice” kissing each other when it wasn’t really practice. Anytime I was around my friends they would always want to play Truth-or-Dare and start the kissing stuff. Still, I didn’t associate these actions with my sexuality, I didn’t really associate the boyfriends I had with sexuality either. Was I a budding bisexual then? Did I just never care to look into it? According to what people know about bisexuality I guess that would have been me when I was younger, it just never came up.
The more experience I gained with different groups of people the more I learned about acceptance. I learned early on that if we were friends, we were best friends, I learned that I loved everyone I met, I learned that although I had boyfriends, I had “other” tendencies. I learned that I was flamboyant and fabulous, still not knowing how to fully embrace that.
My first Pride Event was eye-opening. I loved everything about it, the cute girls, the cute boys, the feeling of love and acceptance. I love the color! It was everywhere, it was on everyone and in everything. Booths were draped with rainbows, feathers, beads, and glitter. All my favorite things it seemed. The boys in their metallic undies and the girls with rainbow paint on their faces intrigued me. I knew then I was queer and wanted to be queer. I never wanted to leave pride. I found my people, my place. The rainbow before this event was fun, I was told regularly I was like a walking rainbow. After the event, I knew why I was a walking rainbow. I knew then that the reason I was so open to people and who they were or wanted to be is because love is love.
Forward to my adult years, the rainbow flag is symbolic to my life. It was like my magic carpet; always there in my peripheral. The flag’s a sign of my freedom to love who I truly loved. When I was able to legally marry my wife, the flag was there as a sign of triumph. As our family grows it is a tool to show our kids that acceptance is for everyone. It is a symbol to accept everyone as unique individuals and to love who you want to love as long as you respect and consent to that love. The flag is a discussion piece for those who aren’t sure who I am or what my family dynamic is. The flag is a way for my family to support me if they chose to.
The rainbow flag may be something as simple as dyed cloth, sewn together as a sign of community, but for me, it is a blanket for my life. The thread is the strength of my family and community. The colors are for everyone around me who are truly amazing and doing amazing things. The flag shows that we have come a long way and that there is some good in the world. It is also a reminder that we still have work to do as a community and as people. This flag represents love as a choice and acceptance as a necessity. This flag was a simple idea by a man who wanted to create something, but for me, the flag is symbolic for how far I’ve come as a woman, mother, wife, friend, and member of society.