Positive Symbols

La Voz de Galicia – June 26, 2020 →

Cristina PatoThe story of the rainbow flag that represents the LGTBIQ+ movement was born in California, in 1978, with the American artist and activist Gilbert Baker. The design of the original flag had eight colors, each one with its own symbolism, but because of practical matters, two of those colors disappeared to give rise to the flag that we have today: a six-color rainbow.

The idea of creating a flag as a symbol of the political movement that was beginning had its origin in Baker’s circle of friends and included the historic politician Harvey Milk. Baker never registered it, and according to his website, this flag, like all other flags, had to belong to the public domain. He lived by his art and carried out historical activist moments, like when he created a mile-long flag (1,600 meters) to commemorate the 25 anniversary of the Stonewall riots or when he responded to Donald Trump’s election by creating a series of prisoner uniforms embroidered with a pink triangle on its chest, a reference to the way that Nazism labeled homosexuality in the concentration camps. The pink triangle remains a symbol, but the rainbow flag represents a more positive and global idea of the historical moment in which it was born.

These days, reading about the different responses to the campaign of Spain’s postal service, #NoSoloAmarillo (#NotJustYellow), where the state-owned company launched its commemorative rainbow flag stamp and exchanged in some of its mailboxes and trucks its yellow color for the rainbow, I realized that homophobia, just like racism, continues to be politicized in a way that it is sometimes not even visible, and it is precisely this invisibility that should concern us.

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