Letting your Freak Flag Fly…

Hello Friends,

Being Gay, much like being Pagan, means that sometimes ones friends direct questions about the whole of Queerdom (or Pagandom) to you.  Sometimes this is of the “whats this freakishness about” school of inquiry, and sometimes like below its more of a question for clarification….

So my dear friend and sometimes co-conspirator ‘Nyx tagged me in a post on Facebook asking the following question…

Am I wrong? Is the Rainbow Flag NOT all inclusive? 

“I have a question. LGBT is supposed to be a community and the rainbow flag is supposed to represent community from what I know. Why though are there literally tons of flags for each sexuality. Some people have even told me recently that the rainbow flag just means gay because lesbians and everyone else has their own flags. So I really want to know your thoughts. Are we going to become separate communities or have we already done that? When I post a rainbow flag does it no longer represent community and the only time I’m allowed to include someone is when I post their specific flag colors? Thoughts please…” -quoted by ‘Nyx, in her question, from a link from elsewhere on the Facebook…

Here is my response…

“Hey ‘Nix,

Well, these days I would say the flag is pretty darn inclusive but even the exact design of the Freedom Flag as it is sometimes known, is a fluid thing…


The LGBT community, and LGBT rights movements have a complex history.  This Link from Wikipeida may be useful..


It might also help to think of the LGBT community as being a lot like the Pagan Community, or a Venn Diagram, several overlapping circles of communities.  There are branches of the LGBT, or GLBT (to give the guys some equal time in the lead of the alphabet soup), community that have their own identity issues and identification needs and their own ideas of self-hood even within the larger GLBT community.

In the 1970’s when the flag first emerged, some LGBT groups felt that they were different communities better said to be allied with the Gay community, especially as the Women’s Liberation movement gained steam and the Lesbian community started to emerge into its own… and they had some conflicts politically and philosophically with the larger GLBT movement.

Then too we are dealing with the power of a symbol.  The Pride Flag, or any form of Pride Flag, represents an act of empowerment and a claiming of self-worth.

These days I’d say that the Rainbow Flag is mighty damn inclusive, but its inclusiveness has grown grown over time and been part of a journey through history and politics and culture.”

Hope this helps,
Geoffrey / Pax

2 thoughts on “Letting your Freak Flag Fly…

  1. Vampsdarling

    With this subject being so vast, I think your answer is a great place to begin honest discussions and engage in constructive dialogue. I was once told (admittedly, when I was younger and more argumentative) that the reason that the Rainbow Flag has continued to be as iconic as it has become is that it is a peaceful, non-threatening way to encourage community. I can’t really get behind the idea that the Rainbow Flag is indicative purely of one population, because that feels exclusionary.

    Symbols, to me, are there for an individual to connect to, but cannot necessarily be (or very rarely are) a definition of an entire group of people. 🙂

    1. Pax

      Thanks for the kind words.

      On the topic of symbols, they only have meanings if the meanings are agreed upon by the group, or grove, or culture involved. It is in trying to agree, or agreeing to disagree, that always seems to be the sticking point.

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