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V is a passionate Pride advocate and Neighborhoods Pride Lead, bringing us the forth installment of "Good to Know" with an insightful history lesson.

With colours from our nature’s-made rainbow, The Pride Flag is adopted all over the world to serve as a symbol of hope, unification, diversity and the spectrum of human sexuality and gender, celebrating all within the LGBTQIA+ (acronym variations) community.

As the most common six-colour version that is shown today, what meaning does it hold, and where has that originated from?

Firstly, let’s start by unpacking that first acronym, LGBTQIA+. What does it stand for and who does it represent?

L: Stands for Lesbian.

A woman/woman-aligned body who is attracted to people of the same/similar gender.

G: Stands for Gay.

Usually, the term is used to refer to men/men-aligned bodies who are attracted to people of the same/similar gender. However, lesbians can also be referred to as gay and frequently use it to casually refer to themselves when communicating. (It is a openly used term)

B: Stands for Bisexual.

This term indicates an attraction to all genders of a body's choosing. The recognition of bisexual-identified body’s is important due to past misunderstandings when they were referred to as gay. Bisexuality includes transgender, binary and non-binoary body’s since the “Bisexual Manifesto” in 1990.

T: Stands for Transgender.

This term indicates a change from the assigned gender at birth to the chosen gender by a body.

Q: Stands for Queer or Questioning.

This term can indicate a specific identity; however, it is commonly used as an umbrella term for body’s who consider themselves as non-cisgender or heterosexual. “Queer” can also be used as a slur and should be careful when spoken and to whom. “Questioning” refers to the body's unsure of and figuring out their identity.

I: Stands for Intersex.

A term used by body’s who are born with variations of sex characteristics that do not fit within the binary definitions of male or female bodies.

A: Stands for Asexual.

This term is used to refer to a bodies who have little to no sexual attraction; however, they may experience romantic attraction.

+: Stands for Plus.

This is used to signify and include all the other identities that are not specifically covered by the five other initials.

Other acronym variations exist, such as LGBTQQIP2SAA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Pansexual, Two-Spirit (2S), Androgynous, and Asexual).

So now the flag; where did it originate from?

The Gilbert Baker design was inspired by the lyrics of Judy Garland’s ‘Over The Rainbow’ and designs from social movements such as Black Civil Rights groups during the 1960s. Baker hand-dyed and hand-sewed the flag which flew at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day in June 1978. Each of the colours stood as a meaning and the beginning of the Pride Flag as we see it today.

After the assassination of Harvey Milk in 1978, Gilbert Barker and local Paramount Flag Co began mass production to commemorate his achievements and to continue his work for equality and diversity. However, due to the high demand for the original eight-striped design and the scarcity to obtain the hot pink fabric, the Pride Flag was changed to a seven-stripe version.

In 1979, the community finalised the current six-colour version, which is now the most familiar and common Pride Flag seen today. The turquoise and indigo stripes were combined to create a royal blue stripe, and it was decided upon to fly the Pride Flag horizontally with the red stripe first.

As it is Pride Month in New Zealand, it is important to learn about and respect those who have paved the way for the LGBTQIA+ community. The past individuals who fought, faced consequences, and died for the Pride community to be where it is today. The Pride flag is a reminder to choose love, remain open-hearted and continue to fight for an inclusive world.

Here are a bunch of awesome links with information, resources and events around New Zealand!

Written by V

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