United colours of pride: Decoding the LGBT flag
June was LGBT pride month, and as it draws to a close, we speak to some members and activists from the community to understand what the flag represents, and try to decode it. The original flag had eight stripes. But in its current form, it has six, namely red (life), orange (healing), yellow (sunlight), green (nature), blue (harmony) and violet (spirit). The design of the flag is credited to Gilbert Baker, who designed it in 1977. The flag was first used in 1978 at the San Francisco Gay and the Lesbian Freedom Day Parade.
Ashok Row Kavi, founder of the Humsafar Trust, says, “During the Stonewall Riots in New York, the activists decided to choose the colours of the rainbow as they could mean to represent all sexualities.” Rafiul Alom Rahman, founder of DU Queer Collective, says, “The flag represents diversity and celebrates the differences we all come with. There was no single defining moment when the flag became the symbol for representation of the LGBT community; it was a journey.” For activist Sonal Giani, the flag is a representation of feelings. She says, “The LGBT pride flag symbolises hope and a feeling of coexistence. It makes people like me feel like part of a larger community.”
Activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, has a message for the society. “I want people to accept us the way we are. And that is what our flag stands for,” she says. ■
The flag represents diversity and celebrates the differences we all come with RAFIUL ALOM RAHMAN, LGBT ACTIVIST