Someone needs to state the obvious, so here goes my attempt.

Recently, Amber Hikes, one of the more recognizable members of Philadelphia’s LGBTQ community, unveiled a redesigned pride flag to kick off Pride month, and it has been met with criticism. In the new design (that can be seen below), black and brown stripes lie atop the other colors of the pride flag you’re used to seeing. Its purpose is to represent LGBTQ individuals of color.

Arguments against this new rendering include “the flag looks ugly,” "the Pride flag was never about race, and if they're going to change that, then where’s my stripe?" … get a grip … And my personal favorite, “Well that’s not a rainbow so it’s no longer the pride flag.”

I’ve got news for you. The pride flag isn’t a rainbow. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet – those are the colors of a rainbow. If you count that out, that’s seven. The standard pride flag has six stripes. You may be saying to yourself, “Well Joe, that’s a very stupid point to make,” but we call it a rainbow, don't we? And guess what... it's okay that we do. But that simple observation should highlight the fact that there are no rules to this thing.

The LGBTQ community, like any other faction of society, is evolving. Again, there are no rules to this. The very acronym that represents our community has changed and continues to change as time goes on. GLBT, LBGT, LGBT, LGBTQ, LGBTQIA – there are countless variations, and guess what – they’re all okay. If you omit the I and A, which represent intersex and asexual, I wouldn't assume you are discriminating against them, and if you choose to use other letters you see fit, cool, the more the merrier!
I prefer to use “LGBTQ” community 1. Because I think we as a community need to focus on and help those who fall under the umbrella of “questioning” aka Q, and 2. Because it’s fun to say LGBTQmmunity. The LGBTQ community should always be about inclusion. Not about separation. If LGBTQ people of color feel underrepresented by their peers, then it’s up to us to fix that.

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