My school district is flying rainbow flags at each one of its schools this month in recognition of Pride Month. Unlike the traditional rainbow flag, the district has opted to fly the Progress Pride Flag, designed by in 2018 by graphic designer Daniel Quasar.
Quasar added a five-colored chevron to the classic rainbow flag to place a greater emphasis on “inclusion and progression.” The flag includes black and brown stripes to represent marginalized LGBTQ+ communities of color, along with the colors pink, light blue, and white, which are used on the Transgender Pride Flag.
I’m thrilled that my school is flying this flag, but I’m also astounded. I marvel at how far we’ve come in what feels like an incredibly short period of time. Same sex marriage, for example, was made legal just 13 years ago in the state of Connecticut.
Two months before Clara was born.
It was made legal in the United States less than six years ago.
I spent the vast majority of my life in a world where same sex marriage was not only illegal but never seemed likely to become legal. Instead, my kids only know a world where same sex marriage is legal.
In fact, Elysha and I know so many same sex couples. It’s hard to imagine that their marriages were only made legally possible for the last 13 years and only recognized as legal nationwide for less than five years. Just imagine how many people were denied the rights, protections, and recognition afforded by marriage simply because they were not a heterosexual couple.
The world has seemingly changed overnight. If only it could’ve seemingly changed overnight centuries ago.
So much injustice that can never be corrected.
Yet even though the world has changed for the better, I still marvel at how our public schools are flying this flag. Some members of our community are undoubtedly upset that this flag is flying at my school. Despite all the progress that has been made, hatred, bigotry, and stupidity still abound in this world. Though I am surrounded by people see this flag as a sign of something good and just, I am certain that there are people in our midst who feel differently.
I also know that the flying of a rainbow flag at a public school in some states would be impossible. Even though the world is changing for the better, there are still places in this country where same sex marriage might be legal but is not welcomed or even tolerated.
We still have a long, long way to go.
As my students and I were walking under the flag this week, one looked up and said, “I think we should always fly that flag. Why wait until June?”
I started to explain that by flying the flag for just one month out of the year, the cause that it represents might receive more attention than if we flew it every day. “If we flew that flag all year long, it might just become something ordinary and expected instead of something that draws attention to an important cause.”
Then I stopped myself.
Wouldn’t it be lovely, I thought, if rainbow flags and same sex marriage and universal acceptance of every member of the LGBTQ+ community became ordinary and expected?
So instead I said, “Write a letter arguing that the rainbow flag should fly all year long. I’ll show you where to mail it.”
I like to think that this generation of kids – those who have grown up in a world where rainbow flags fly and same sex marriage is legal – will be the ones who sweep away the last vestiges of bigotry and hatred from our country. My hope is that they will be the ones who finally bring equality and justice to this world.
A lofty and perhaps unreasonable goal, but not if you ask my students or my own children.
To them, this goal seems perfectly reasonable and very overdue.