Big brands and Pride are a good thing. 

​By @ChrisQ_1 

I was in a Tesco recently – getting a £3 meal deal – and when heading to the counter, I walked past a stark white display that stood out from the rest of the shop. The cardboard shelves held rows of equally stark white and black packets of Skittles. The famously multi-coloured sweet, owned by Mars Inc, carries the slogan: ‘taste the rainbow’. But for the period of Pride month, the brand has made the decision to relinquish the rainbow for the LGBTQI community, in its own little way of celebrating. 

Now, neither you or I are under any illusions that this is a marketing exercise – in order to make the brand come access as nice (call me cynical). But as a society, we’re far more brand savvy than we used to be. While this particular move by Skittles has backfired for them (more about this later), they are not the only product to attempt to capitalise on the rainbow month. 

Virgin

WKD

Smirnoff

Tesco

Barclays 

nike

There’s a real mix of products and services here, and each year there seems to be more that jump on and get involved. It’s partly because, nowadays, brands see the importance of their image and there’s profit to be made from being seen to support pride; as 65% of 13-to-20-year-olds say that they know someone who goes by gender neutral pronouns and people who fall under LGBTQI or allies are a growing group. 

Above:The white pack of Skittles. 

Having large, influential brands and organisations endorse Pride is a good thing. If we want to achieve true equality, the positive influence these companies can have should be helpful. It will put the flag and what it represents in front of people who otherwise might not have reason to think about it. Exposure to as wide an audience as possible will, hopefully, help teach more people about – and normalise the idea of – LGBTQI equality in places where those ideas are less abundant. 

However, while I think it can be a force for good, It should not be done in a flippant or ill educated way. Any use of Pride on commercial products or services shouldn’t just be a re brand with a catchy slogan and a press release. It should an be actual real world commitment to change minds and perceptions. It should be pro active with your own workforce and supporting LGBTQI employees or getting directly involved with marches by becoming a partner or supporting local charities. 

The ‘brand’ of Pride should also be used in an informed way, in conjunction with the expertise of people who understand what’s going on in the community. Perhaps if Skittles had done this, they may have avoided the backlash they received. While some would argue that they don’t want to see Pride commercialised in that way, if we hold each company that does ‘dawn the rainbow’ to a standard of activism and inclusion, it becomes another way to help improve equality across the board. 

This is the view of the author and may or may not be the view of Pride matters or any other authors. 

Stonewall: 06.28.67

​By @dtpjustin

Remembering the Fight. 

As hundreds of thousands of members of the LGBTQ+ community take to the streets in June, celebrating Pride Month across the country, and around the world, it’s important to reflect on the history behind these celebrations. Widely regarded as the turning point and inspiration for the modern-day equality battle, no single event was more pivotal for the community, than the events that unfolded in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 in Greenwich Village, New York, at the Stonewall Inn.

Above: The exterior of the Stonewall Inn, the centerpiece of the riots on June 28, 1969. 

The Stonewall Inn, owned by the Genovese crime family, was the only bar for gay men in New York City, where dancing was allowed. The bar had no fire exits, no running water behind the bar, and no liquor license, but due to its mix of ages, races, sexualities, and gender identities, it was known by many as “the gay bar in the city”. Attending the Stonewall Inn required meeting a bouncer at the door, who inspected patrons through a peephole, to avoid letting in undercover police. To be granted admission, patrons had to be known by the doorman, or “look gay”. Customers paid a $3 entry fee, which entitled them to two tickets that could be exchanged for drinks. The employees at Stonewall used a light system to alert patrons that police were spotted outside. Immediately the regular, overhead lights would be turned on to signal that everyone should stop dancing or touching.

Above: For five days after the initial riot occurred, protests spilled into the streets, with crowds of hundreds and sometimes thousands of members of the community. 

Police raids were quite common of these underground LGBTQ establishments. The bar owners typically paid off the cops to limit the raids to occurring early in the evening, so that business could start up again once it was completed. The owners usually knew about the raids from people that would tip them off that something was going to happen. What transpired around 1:20am on Saturday, June 28, 1969 was something that nobody could have predicted.

Earlier in the evening, 4 undercover police officers entered Stonewall to observe the activities, while the Public Morals Squad waited outside. Once inside, the officers used the bar’s payphone to call for backup. Music was stopped and the overhead lights were turned on. Typically, during a raid, the police would line up all the patrons, check identification, and anybody dressed as a woman was taken to the bathroom to verify their sex. However, this night wasn’t like the rest. People refused to go to the bathrooms to be inspected, and men in line began to refuse to show their identification. The police decided that everyone still inside the bar was going to be brought down to the police station. The patrons that had managed to escape at the beginning of the raid, instead of going immediately home, began to congregate outside. In just a few short minutes, the crowd grew to 100-150 people.

Above: One year after the Stonewall Riots, the community organized the Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day, recognized as the first Gay Pride march in the United States (Photo courtesy of the Associated Press)

 The crowd grew restless outside, as rumors of police beating patrons still inside the bar began to swirl. According to bystanders, a woman was being escorted from the bar in handcuffs. She escaped multiple times, fought with the officers, and had been hit on the head with a baton for complaining that her handcuffs were too tight. Her identity remains unconfirmed, however witnesses recall her looking at the crowd of people, and shouting “Why don’t you guys do something?” It was at this moment that the group, which now numbered upwards of 500 people, turned into an enraged mob.

Ten police officers, and several handcuffed patrons, attempted to barricade themselves inside Stonewall for their safety. The crowd began throwing anything they could find at the building, lighting garbage on fire and putting it through the broken windows. The crowd also uprooted a parking meter to use as a battering ram on the doors of Stonewall. After 45 minutes, the fire department and riot squad arrived to rescue those inside Stonewall and to disperse the crowd. The protests continued on Christopher Street and in nearby Christopher Street Park for five more days. All 3 major New York newspapers covered the protests, which sometimes numbered in the thousands, after accounts of the riots were published.
After the riots, many members of the community who previously felt that they had no voice, now felt empowered. The creation of many LGBTQ organizations sprouted as a result of this new era of feeling. Among them, the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA). In addition, within months, 3 newspapers specifically targeted to the community were created in the city, after The Village Voice, refused to print the word “gay” in GLF advertisements. The first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots was recognized as Christopher Street Liberation Day on June 28, 1970 with an assembly outside, as well as other marches in Los Angeles and Chicago, showcasing the first Gay Pride marches in the United States.

Above: After the horrific Pulse massacre shooting in Orlando, Florida, many people visited the Stonewall Inn to honor the victims, just weeks before President Obama made his National Monument designation. (Photo courtesy of NPR)

On June 24, 2016, President Barack Obama officially designated the Stonewall National Monument, the United States’ first National Monument specifically created as an LGBTQ historic site. The National Monument status is 7.7 acres, including the Stonewall Inn, Christopher Street Park, and the block of Christopher Street that borders the park. In his announcement of the designation, President Obama stated, “…Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights. I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country, the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us…”

While June is a month of celebration of for members of our community, it’s imperative to remember the brothers and sisters that were fed up with the current state of affairs and took to the streets, acting as the catalyst that launched LGBTQ discrimination into the mainstream. Let us never forget the courage and bravery that they demonstrated, to help us fight for the equality that we deserve.

This is the view of the author and may or may not be the view of Pride matters or any other authors. 


My Kind Of Pride 

By @ChrisQ_1 

I live in a Scottish town, not a small one, but small enough that I wouldn’t feel comfortable holding hands walking down the street. That can be a strange thing to explain to someone, that in certain places, I don’t feel comfortable holding hands with my other half, and that one of those places is my hometown. Don’t get me wrong, I love where I’m from and it’s part of who I am, it’s just not about to hold it’s first Pride parade anytime soon. That being said, the rest of the world is. 

As I write this, Edinburgh is holding its pride celebrations (It’s also the Queen’s birthday, but I don’t think the two are related) and in a few months time London, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle will have theirs. Social media feeds and timelines fill up with colour, rainbow icons are published, big brands adopt the flag on their products, and everything is #LoveIsLove . All of this is amazing and we’re lucky to live in a time where it’s accepted and treasured. 

I have a different relationship with the word Pride. It took me a bit of time to get comfortable in my own skin growing up. Once I felt like I had a handle on things (not that I think we ever really do) I began to feel proud of who I was and my sexuality. (For reference my orientation is fried food and Sci-Fi). While my own self-regard was assured, my relationship with Pride and the wider LGBTQ+ Community was not. 

My first experience of a pride march was going to Glasgow with my mum while I was still in my teens, around 15/16 years old. We were going through it for the ritual Saturday shopping trip when we happened upon the march. We watched and clapped along for a bit then continued with the days’ shopping. During a standard tea and cake break at the John Lewis cafe (to make us look posher than we were), I asked if I could go back and see more of the celebrations and then meet up with her later on. She was fine with it and I went. The march was done by this point so I just walked around the stalls and saw some on-point performances from Queens and Drag Queens alike. My overriding memory was being really nervous, so nervous I don’t think I talked to anyone. I met back up with mum afterwards and she asked; “Did you like it?” “I think so?” I replied. 

However, I didn’t let that nervous experience put me off, I went back the following year and ventured to other pride celebrations around the UK after that. But I still didn’t get it. Why? I understood the history, the origins of Pride, the flag and the politics of equal rights. I just didn’t know why I was there. 

Compared to some, I was lucky. I had a supportive family and a school with a “we’re not taking any crap” policy on bullying so coming out was easier than most, but I never realised that until I started meeting people who hadn’t had it as easy. I was one of the founding members of the Falkirk LGBT youth group, or as my family lovingly called it ‘Glee Club’ and it was the first time I stepped out of my own little bubble. I began to realise who the modern day Pride was for. The boy who was made homeless. The girl who ran away. The boy who was put in the hospital.

I’m happily proud of who I am. But I reserve Pride with a capital P for them and for anyone else like them. The LGBTQ+ Community can be fractured, and I believe healthy discussion is great, but I also think we can unite behind the Idea that everyone’s story is different and the one’s whose stories are tougher than others should be able to look at Pride and see hope. It’s a celebration and a protest, the two are not mutually exclusive. That’s my kind of Pride. 

Follow Chris at 

@ChrisQ_1 

https://thegingerguy.com/

This is the view of the author and may or may not be the view of Pride matters or any other authors. 

Why there is no Straight Pride Month. 

By @dtpjustin

Forty seven years ago, the LGBTQ+ Community joined together to form what has now evolved into Pride Month. One year after the 1969 Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village – which is widely regarded as the start of the modern equality movement – our community took to the streets in New York City to march for equal rights and protections. While the Pride march has gone through many changes over the years, one thing has stayed constant: the ignorance that some people often display. One question that comes up frequently (and that I’ve heard often) is, “If you have LGBTQ+ Pride month, why is there no straight pride month?”

The answer to that question is easy, and I’m going to lay it out as clear as I can. 

YOU DON’T NEED ONE! 

Now, don’t take this as ignorance or “straight-hate” because I know many amazing straight people who deserve to be recognized as outstanding friends and allies, but that’s because of who they are, not based on their sexuality. If you encounter this ridiculous question (as I’m sure you will at some point in your life), here are the top reasons that I always use to combat the ignorance:

 

Generation after generation, the narrative of our society has always been predominantly defined as straight. Whether in movies, television shows, commercials, or print ads, the idea of the ‘nuclear family’ has always been portrayed as being between a man and woman with the white picket fence and 2.5 children. The nuclear family was something that was always celebrated and shown as something to strive to acquire. The idea of a same-sex couple fitting into that image took decades to even enter the realm of possibility, let alone to be normalized.

 

Above: A typical print advertisement from the 1950’s for Post, depicting the typical nuclear family of the time.

Straight people don’t get fired from their jobs simply for being straight. For many LGBTQ+ people around the world, this is a frightening reality. The fact still remains that people have to hide who they are, how they identify, or the relationship they’re in from their employer to alleviate the risk of losing their job, career, or livelihood. In most countries, the LGBTQ+ Community is not protected under existing employment civil rights laws, taking away our legal right to recourse for being fired for discriminatory reasons.

 

Above: An anti-marriage equality protester perpetuates the debunked myth that same-sex parents endanger the well-being of their children.

As a straight person, it has never been against the law to be straight. The government has never forced themselves into your life to prevent you from being straight or enabling discrimination against you. The stark reality is that many LGBTQ+ people have felt what it’s like to have rights stripped away from them, or limited, based solely on their sexuality. From anti-sodomy laws, religious freedom laws, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, and the Defense of Marriage Act, we know exactly what it’s like for the government to step in and define how our lives need to be lived. Straight people never had to deal with the violation of being told who they could love, or what was legal in the confines of their own bedroom.

 

Above: President Barack Obama signs the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act on December 22, 2010, no longer requiring armed service members to hide their sexuality.

Lastly, and most importantly, straight people aren’t targeted for harassment, physical assault, or murder simply for loving whoever they love. No matter how many equality laws or hate crime acts are passed by the government, the staunch reality is that these horrific crimes still happen on a daily basis to members of the LGBTQ+ Community.

In 2011, the Southern Poverty Law Center, experts in tracking hate crimes and extremism, did an analysis of 14 years of hate crime data and concluded that LGBTQ+ people are far more likely than other minority groups to be victimized by violent hate crimes. We still live in a world where people are targeted simply for holding hands with their same-sex partner. The brutal, senseless murder of Matthew Shepard in October of 1998, was a wake-up call around the world, but, while progress has been made in the legal realm, the reality is that many members of the LGBTQ+ Community are still faced with these targeted attacks in 2017. Being targeted for hate, solely based on sexuality, is an existence that straight people will luckily, never have to deal with.

 

Above: Instead of a traditional Pride march, LA Pride hosted a #Resist March on June 11, 2017 to build upon the grassroots marches that have been organized this year. (courtesy of Genaro Molina/ Los Angeles Times)


While Pride Month has evolved into a celebration of our sexuality and the strides that have been made around the world, it’s important to remember that it began as the declaration for the right to exist without being oppressed or victimized, the demand for equal rights and protections, and for the natural rights that straight people have always enjoyed simply for being who they are – themselves.

This is the view of the author and may or may not be the view of Pride matters or any other authors. 

Bisexual Pride Flag. 


The Bisexual pride flag was designed by Michael Page in 1998. Page’s aim was to show visibility of an otherwise transparent community. Page also felt that the bisexual community felt no connection towards the traditional Rainbow flag. 

The colours were adopted from the Bi-triangle symbol. The first bisexual pride flag was revealed on December 5th 1998.

The pink represents sexual attraction to the same sex (gay or lesbian)
The blue represents the attraction to the opposite sex (straight)
The colour purple represents the overlap of the colours and being attracted to both sexes as a  bisexual person.

The flag often varies in design and ratios, such as it is often seen with assorted amount of stripes in order to conform with other flags. It is not patented allowing such variants and designs.

Other articles on LGBTQIA flags.


What the rainbow flag means to you?

https://pridematters.wordpress.com/2016/05/07/what-does-the-rainbow-flag-mean-to-you/


The origin of the Rainbow flag


https://pridematters.wordpress.com/2016/05/07/the-origin-of-the-rainbow-flag/


The Transgender Flag


http://wp.me/p78BZ8-Y3


The Asexual Flags


http://wp.me/p78BZ8-12a

Transgender Flags

Just like the need for a flag to represent the whole of the Rainbow family there was, and still is a need to represent other parts of the LGBT Community with a symbol to stand under and be proud of representing all of the trans community.

image

The most popular in both USA and parts of Europe is this Transgender flag and was created by American Trans woman Monica Helms in 1999, first revealed at the Phoenix, Arizona pride parade in 2000. The flag represents the transgender community and consists of five horizontal stripes: two light blue, two pink, and one white in the centre.

image

.

Monica, the designer of this flag (above) explains its meaning “The stripes at the top and bottom are light blue, the traditional color for baby boys. The stripes next to them are pink, the traditional color for baby girls. The stripe in the middle is white, for those who are intersex, transitioning or consider themselves having a neutral or undefined gender. The pattern is such that no matter which way you fly it, it is always correct, signifying us finding correctness in our lives.

Other Transgender flags have been designed over the years, here are a few.

.

image

The above flag was created back in 2002 by Jennifer Pellinen. The top of the flag is pink and the colours descend down into the blue. It is said to represent the diversity of the transgender community.

image

The transgender community in Israel uses the above flag, using one of a few transgender symbols.

If you know anymore transgender signs and symbols, I am sure there are a few, let me know and I will look into them, in order to make a more comprehensive list.

Other articles on LGBTQIA flags.


What the rainbow flag means to you?

https://pridematters.wordpress.com/2016/05/07/what-does-the-rainbow-flag-mean-to-you/


The origin of the Rainbow flag


https://pridematters.wordpress.com/2016/05/07/the-origin-of-the-rainbow-flag/


Bisexual Pride Flag


http://wp.me/p78BZ8-11N

The Asexual Flags


http://wp.me/p78BZ8-12a

The origin of the Rainbow flag

The summer is upon us and Gay Pride events will begin shortly, as iconic as the event itself, The Rainbow flag will be no doubt present in some form or another. The flag has evolved over time leaving its mark on LGBT history.

650X350-PrideGuide-LGBT1-550x296The first design of The Rainbow Flag was for a ‘Gay Freedom Day Parade’ in San Francisco back in 1978. It was designed, dyed and sewn together by Gilbert Baker. Baker designed it for the local LGBT activists who wanted a symbol to represent and identify with the cause and community. It had eight stripes, originally representing different meanings. It is thought the inspiration came from several sources, most notably from Black activist flags / ribbons from the 60s. It is also suggested that he drew some inspiration from Judy Garland and the song from Wizard of Oz, Over the Rainbow,  Garland died a few days before ‘The Stonewall Riots’ in 1969 and has always been a strong gay icon.

Gilbert-Baker-Rainbow-FlagBaker worked for a small flag-making company in San Francisco as his day job, and drew on his experience. It had taken thirty volunteers to hand dye and stitch two flags in the Gay Community building in San Francisco. He stated recently in an interview “As they were not supposed to use dye in public washing machines, we waited until late at night after the attendants had left”.

Baker has also stated “The rainbow is so perfect because it really fits our diversity in terms of race, gender, ages, all of those things. During the height of the HIV / AIDS epidemic in the 80s, I volunteered with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and marched in the city’s Gay & Lesbian Freedom Parade behind a fluttering rainbow flag, one that unashamedly symbolized inclusion, equality and love.”

Two flags were raised on the civic building in San Francisco on June 25, 1978 and a gay icon was born.

Harvey%20Milk.jpgFollowing the assassination of Harvey Milk the sales of the flag rocketed in San Francisco, showing the city’s defiance and solidarity. Baker approached the Paramount Flag company he began to work for to begin mass production. It was at this point changes began in the flag. The hot pink was removed, owing to the rarity and expense of this dye to begin with, and over time it changed until the one we see today that has been popular since 2008.

In 2003, to commemorate the Rainbow Flag’s 25th anniversary, Baker created a rainbow flag that stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean in Key West. It was then the world’s longest flag. After the commemoration, he sent sections of this flag to more than 100 cities around the world. Baker was also approached to design the rainbow flags in the 2008 film Milk.

In 1989 John Stout successfully sued his landlords for prohibiting him flying his rainbow flag. This made national headlines in America and helped to solidify the popularity of the flag, not just in America but eventually on a global scale.

south african rainbowOver time there have been many variants on the LGBT rainbow flag theme. In 1994 a hybrid of both the LGBT rainbow and the South African flag was launched. Designed by Eugene Brockman, it was created to shed light on same-sex relationships, while indicating the new South Africa’s stance against discrimination, homophobia and hate crimes.

Individual communities within the LGBT family now have their own versions of the original flag in order to give the other communities their own symbols.

On the coast of Australia there is an island that is now a proclaimed independent from Australia and uses a rainbow flag as its national flag.

As symbolic as the rainbow flag is today, there are still those that wish to oppose it, and protest it flying majestically. In the UK there have been occasions where the councils have tried to stop the flag being flown, however, other councils  have flown them proudly on  public buildings.

The rainbow flag symbolises so much for our LGBT family, showing love diversity, defiance against homophobia but it also shows the history of the last almost forty years.

Email your own Rainbow flag pictures to Pridematters1@gmail.com or your thoughts on this iconic flag. Contact us on twitter at @MattersofPride and we will add your thoughts to this page.


Other articles on LGBTQIA flags.

The origin of the Rainbow flag


https://pridematters.wordpress.com/2016/05/07/the-origin-of-the-rainbow-flag/


The Transgender Flag


http://wp.me/p78BZ8-Y3


Bisexual Pride Flag


http://wp.me/p78BZ8-11N


The Asexual Flags


http://wp.me/p78BZ8-12a

What does pride mean to you?

Please note: A link to Pride 2017 is at the bottom of this article.

Pride month is always in June to coincidence with the Stonewall Riots anerversary and the marches that were sparked off afterwards in New York and then globally.
The marches have become a celebration for the LGBTQIA comuinity. 

So it seems fitting to ask….. 

What does Pride mean to you? 

Here are some of the best replies

@BrizLionGooner

#Pride to me means being proud and accepting who you are as a human. Soon it will be proudly tattooed on my forearm

 

@Arthurothul

#Pride is #Equality #SelfLove #BeyondLabels believing that #loveislove regardless of gender #LGBT #humanrights


@princeybc

#Pride to me is being comfortable with who you are and not letting anyone get you down for being you. 

@hexa_fleet

Helping the younger, more insecure LGBT kids to stop being afraid to live and love as who they are!

@Vir_Superanus

Pride means celebrating who we are in a world that tells us to be otherwise.

@MyBlackRevenge

#Pride to me means being comfortable with yourself and loving yourself no matter how difficult the world makes it. #LGBT

@poetichedgehog

#Pride to me is not having to hide who I am to fit into other people’s comfort zones. #LGBT 

@slaterretals

To have a sound & secure outlook That’s Pride ! 

@Oaky_van_Dokey

Equality; I mustn’t be ashamed to belong to a minority, my love is worth as much as any others love.



Contact us on our twitter page @mattersofpride or our email Pridematters1@gmail.com and lets add your comments as well!

Guide to Pride 2017: 

https://pinkuk.com/events/gay-pride-2017

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