Tape of Shame or Pride," Projector BTC left this comment about whether or not rainbow flags and other pride symbols are still necessary. What do you think?]]>"/> Tape of Shame or Pride," Projector BTC left this comment about whether or not rainbow flags and other pride symbols are still necessary. What do you think?]]>"/>

Bil Browning

COW: BTC on Whether or Not to Rainbow Up

Filed By Bil Browning | November 06, 2011 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: openly gay, rainbow flag, rainbow sticker, show your pride

Over on Mike Rogers' post, "Tape of Shame or Pride," Projector BTC left this comment Thumbnail image for comment-of-week.jpgabout whether or not rainbow flags and other pride symbols are still necessary. What do you think?

I can identify strongly with the author's point. Being on a college campus, I face plenty of well-intentioned but insistent pressure from the formal gay advocacy organizations to label (literally) myself in that way: with rainbows, other shirts, stickers; I have even been criticized for not showing sufficient PDA with my boyfriend.

I am comfortable with who I am and am not going to hide it. But I strongly, strongly resist the idea that my gay identity is or should be the most visible or defining part of me. I know a lot of gays that like (and strive for) it, but I am so sick of being approached and treated like a "sassy gay friend" because of some rainbow paraphernalia. I liken it in some ways to conventionally attractive, busty blonde women not being taken seriously. Most gay guys are not overly flamboyant and just dyyyyying to give you a wardrobe overhaul; yet, that is more often than not the first thing people see when I'm wearing a rainbow.

I am comfortable openly supporting gay causes that I care about, but in the same way that I support a political party or candidate for office, I am certainly NOT going to make that the first thing that someone knows about me.

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Yes! Yes! Wear it, proudly. I am a school teacher in Texas in a suburban school district. When I said I wanted to wear a rainbow flag to school I was told it was a political statement. At the same time, Christians are allowed to wear a cross which is a religious symbol, and worse a murder and torture instrument. I hired a lawyer and paid good money ($575) to wear my pin.

I wear it because I want students to know that there are gay people out there living lives boldly.

I also have two rainbow flags that fly from my car as part of a memorial to GLBT youth who have died either by hate crime or suicide by bullying. In my front window it explains that they fly in memory of GLBTQ. Youth. Another sign list several youth who have died.

We may not need it to support/out ourselves, but those who are being persecuted at home, in church, and at school, need to know we are out there for them.

Wear it proud. I wear my $575 pin with pride.

I rainbow it up because I'm super femme and am overlooked and assumed to be straight because of stereotypes. I want to be more recognizable to other LGBTQ people on campus while simultaneously (hopefully) avoiding getting hit on by men. Rainbows are a tool to get the attention I do want while avoiding attention I don't want, while not having to compromise my gender expression.

This is NOT a post-gay age. Would that it were. I therefore like to know who and what I'm dealing with, especially in places not noted for tolerance. A rainbow flag on the door of a business sends an important message about that business and may well tip the scale in its favor if it's competing with a business not so openly supportive. Ditto political candidates. So, while I don't give a damn how publicly cozy you are with your boyfriend, and while I agree that your gay identity shouldn't be the most visible or defining part of you, knowing that you're gay, and that you want me to know that, is still an important factor in getting my attention.

The symbols are necessary because the message that the family is everywhere, that it is you and me and the guy down the street has not fully hit home yet. Equality is coming and the situation is much improved but it is not there yet. I suggest that gay people who are not flamboyant just be discreetly there, like a Human Rights Campaign sticker or a little rainbow colored strip on the back windshield. You don't have to fly a big gay flag on your radio antenna, but something small is nice to see and may encourage those brothers and sisters who are unable to express themselves at all. We have a lot of closet cases here, those who are only minimally out and some more who are "in the wall" often for financial reasons. (I have not heard that term outside of Baton Rouge. The wall means the closet has no door. I know a couple of openly gay older guys who have boyfriends who are in that condition. Many would not go with such a closeted person but it is ok for them. Both are in their 50s and one boyfriend is in his 70s and married.)

I'm here, I'm gay [too much unhappy experience with "queer"], I'm afraid that I'm old enough to be some twinkie's grandfather, and get over it.

Having an HRC sticker on my bumper is hardly "flaunting," certainly a lot less than people who pay extra to have vanity plates advertising their fraternity or their fondness for animals or support for a sports team (in Massachusetts, that extra money goes to a designated charity -- I don't know whether that's the case in other states), and it does, increasingly, document, both to me and to others, that I'm not the ONLY one who's here, who's ... and get over it.

I'm not particularly likely to "stalk" someone else whose car in the apartment complex parking lot sports an HRC sticker, and sadly(?!) no one has stalked me either.

For me, mild self-identification is no more an issue than is a bumper sticker for our not-so-fierce advocate or "My kid is an honor student at XXXX elementary school."

The fact that you are a part of the gay minority is an involuntary political statement you make just by being present in the world, and not a matter subject to your personal preference of how your presence *should* be experienced by others.

Despite talk of a “post-gay” generation, young gay people still need to forge their identities and to express those identities with confidence and integrity. If you don't do this affirmatively yourself, others can and will take it upon themselves to do it for you (as you have already learned).

Aubrey Haltom | November 7, 2011 10:54 PM

Whether intentional or not, it's interesting that we have 2 posts in the same day on 'flagging' - be it rainbow or color-coded hankies.

Ah, we do love to accessorize, eh?