Q: The original already included everyone, what’s race have to do with anything?
A: Race has to do with everything because we live in a society based on white supremacy in which races were created to form hierarchies based on skin color. Racial oppression does not just live in a bubble – it infiltrates everything. Racism intersects with other forms of oppression and extends into other movements, such as the LGBTQIA+ movement.
The LGBTQIA+ movement is white-centered, yet what we know as the modern Pride/LGBTQIA+ movement was started by Black and Brown Trans People of Marginalized Genders (MaGe; coined by @CryssyPoet/Crystal Michelle).
When we look at the media, we see the face of the movement is whiteness, but consider why and how when Millennial Latinx are more likely to identify as LGBTQIA+, the pioneers were Black and Brown Trans People of MaGe, and the most marginalized are Black and Brown Trans People of MaGe.
Race and queerness intersect, and racism and other forms of oppression (including ableism and neuroableism, for example) is something that the LGBTQIA+ must recognize and address.
Q: Why did you place the Black and Brown directly across and not just parallel like the originals?
A: “Centering Across the Movement” is the message that someone needs to walk away with if they see the flag and chooses to use it. Yes, it’s uncomfortable, but centering is what those of us with privilege over others must do to demand and create actual change for BBI Trans, Queer, and Nonbinary PoC.
Equity and equality are not one in the same. White privilege means that we do not all start from the same advantage point, and to have stripes that are equally parallel to one another is to once again ignore that we must center the most marginalized within the movement.
When we center the most marginalized, we start to truly raise their voices, listen, take a step back, and understand what needs to be done. When this happens, any progress trickles back to the most privileged. This is how we create change for all of us rather than the most privileged that already have center stage.
Q: Why is the white on the New Pride Flag so small? Also, why can’t the white be placed next to the blue and Black or Brown in the new Trans and Nonbinary BBI flag?
A: The purpose of the flag is to center BBI PoC, and especially to raise awareness of the most marginalized. Black and Brown Trans People of Marginalized Gender are especially vulnerable, as they are disproportionately targeted and murdered because of homophobia and transphobia.
In addition, white was set up to mean neutral and nonbinary, yet white can never be neutral because historically, the colonizers ensured that subconsciously whiteness be the embodiment of words such as pure, angelic, clean, godly while Black became the opposite, including dirty, evil, demonic. White can never be impartial, especially in our current society.
In addition, nonbinary people may not associate with whiteness when they think of their nonbinary identity. As someone that is gendervague, for example, I do not identify at all with whiteness or neutral when I think about my nonbinary identity.
As for the Trans and Nonbinary BBI PoC flag, again, decentering whiteness and centering BBI PoC across is vital to the message the movement must receive. The white is on either side pointing our eyes away from pink and blue, and therefore, emphasizing that gender goes beyond colors like blue, pink, and white, which if we think about it, are colors that enforce white colonialist attitudes about gender roles and identities.
Lastly, decentering whiteness is not silencing anyone. It’s to acknowledge the role that everyone that is white and those with privilege must identify, recognize, and work on.
Our BBI Trans People of MaGe are dying at disproportionate rates. This must not just become another symbol without action. This must be a flag that serves a purpose to ensure that we address root issues and protect our most vulnerable, as well as recognize their role in our movement’s advancement.
Centering and acknowledging does not take away from anyone’s struggle.
Q: I’m white – can I use these flags?
A: It is my hope that the flags are first and foremost accessible to TQ BBI PoC. Because of this, part of sales helps to send flags to BBI PoC. If you’d like to help make this happen, buy stickers or make a donation to us so we can send flags to individuals and organizations.
As for use by the white community, it is my hope that the flag will be used by all to help create awareness and change. It is up to white people to create change within your own communities. BBI PoC do not have the privileges, safety (yes, even white LGBTQIA+ folks have more of this), and platform that white people have. To use this flag is to make a commitment to work on your own hand in racism, anti-blackness, anti-indigeneity, the oppression of others, to commit to take part in discussions, to reach out to organizations and politicians, as well as to your family and friends about why we must center TQ BBI PoC and what is happening. It’s a commitment to raise their/our voices and for you to take a step back and actually listen and let especially Black Trans People of MaGe lead.
Q: I don’t see any flags for sale on your site – where can I get flags?
A: The full-sized files of the flags are hosted on the home page of this site. The reason for this is that this is a completely grassroots initiative that is also anti-capitalistic. I, the designer, do not believe it is right to make money off the oppression of others. However, we also have very little resources, which means we don’t have the capability to create and store merchandise. Because of this, we encourage everyone to use the files to create their own stickers, cards, fabric flags, banners, etc. There are many online printers that will create custom flags around the world.
For commercial use, we just ask that those that intend to sell items with the flag on them, donate at least 50% of the profits to our fund, which is divided at the end of the year, or to donate directly to TQ-BBI PoC-led organizations, projects, etc. You must contact us first for permission with who you will be donating to in order to ensure you understand this condition; otherwise, you do not have permission to use the flag for commercial purposed.
Q: OK, so I understand what the flag means, and I support the message and need to take action – what do I do next?
A: It’s not enough to just fly the flag. It is important that the flag not become an empty symbol, and that instead, it becomes a resource to teach members of the LGBTQIA+ what direction they must take to create a truly just movement that is mindful to centering, supporting, and raising the voices of the most marginalized in order to move towards actual equality for those in the movement. If the movement is only safe and focused on the privileged members of the movement, who exactly is the movement for and why? Start educating yourself, enroll in an anti-racism course led by a Black person of marginalized gender, use your voice and platform to raise the voices of BBI PoC and give them/us a platform. Protect and support BBI PoC, financially, at work, in your community, etc. Most importantly LISTEN. Do not assume you know what TQ BBI PoC need because you don’t. We need you to listen and work on your community where you have the privilege to do so.
Recognize that acknowledging the struggles of others does not take away from your own struggles. It simply means that you are ready to work outside your single view of the world to break down oppression for all.
Thank you for reading, Julia Feliz