Embracing the Progress Pride Flag:

Why the new design is popular with communities and organisations.

Every June, LGBT Pride month is celebrated to commemorate and honour the 1969 Stonewall Riots. Patrons of the Stonewall Inn in New York City staged an uprising to police harassment and persecution of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people. This protest is widely acknowledged as the beginning of the LGBT rights movement.

Now as an annual celebration across the world, LGBT Pride month includes parades, parties, memorials, workshops and more to remember those who’ve fought for equality and to embrace diversity within the LGBTQ+ community.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen an increase of more than 400% in the sale of LGBT Pride flags, and recently the Progress flag is the most popular choice. In preparation for a month of events across the world, the Flagmakers team wanted to look at the evolving role of flags in LGBT Pride and the adoption of the Progress Pride flag.

The original pride flag was designed by Gilbert Baker in the 1970s. The 8-stripe rainbow flag was hand-dyed by Baker and has inspired dozens of designs and versions as the fight for LGBTQ+ equality developed over time. Learn more about the history of the Pride flag in our blog.

In June 2018, an American activist called Daniel Quasar combined elements of several LGBT flags to create an updated version of the Pride flag to bring focus on further inclusion and progress. This new design incorporated a chevron to the hoist of the traditional 6-colour pride flag which represents marginalised LGBTQ+ communities of colour, those living with HIV/AIDS and those who’ve been lost, and trans and non-binary persons.

Over the past 12 months LGBT organisations, prides, activists, and brands have simultaneously and without coordination been adopting the Progress flag as the primary symbol for the LGBTQ+ community. In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd, and as a response to the rise in anti-trans messaging and violence across the world including the USA and the UK.

The 2018 'Progress' Design by Daniel Quasar

Some people were against the adoption of this new design, commenting that they believed the 6 colour flag already represented everyone within the abstract meaning behind the colours of the rainbow. However, leading LGBT organisations say this ignores the experiences of people of colour and trans people.

In 2018, Stonewall revealed that 51% of BAME LGBT people reported experiencing racism within the LGBTQ+ community. And reports from October 2020 show that transphobic hate crimes have quadrupled in the UK over the last 5 years. The arrow of the chevron points to the right to show forward movement, while being on the left edge shows that progress still needs to be made for full equality, especially for the communities the chevron represents.

As June 2021 sees the return of in-person pride events, we’re predicting to see many events and organisations choosing to fly the Progress flag instead of the traditional 6 colour design.

This year, brands and businesses will likely join LGBTQ+ organisations in using the Progress pride flag, and Pride month is the ideal time for them to adopt the new flag. As companies and institutions commit to engaging with their LGBTQ+ staff members, customers, and the wider public, it is common to see them flying a pride flag and adding the rainbow symbol to their branding.

In the past, some corporations have been criticised for ‘jumping on the bandwagon of celebrating LGBT pride’ and even been accused of trying to profit from the LGBTQ+ community but without any meaningful actions to support them. Companies can give more meaning to their Pride pledge by flying the Progress flag. Adopting the 2018 design for June, and beyond, will show people that the business is actively listening to the community and aiming to engage with the current affairs of intersectional communities within the LGBTQ+ umbrella.

It’s always great to see businesses supporting LGBT Pride. However, there are several types of organisation that are more likely to fly an LGBT flag for Pride months than others. Here are a few examples of the companies that regularly fly a flag and support the LGBT community.

Hackney Council flying the Progress Pride Flag

Emergency Services – Despite a turbulent history with the police and the LGBTQ+ community, there has been a growing tradition of the role of the emergency services in the celebration of pride. The police, the NHS, and fire and rescue services are all proud employers to a variety of LGBTQ+ people and often take a key role in pride parades and events. South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue made a superb impression with a viral video responding to comments questioning why they support LGBT Pride. You can watch it here.

Councils and Local Government – As an organisation which often has a flagpole at the ready, it is superb to see more and more local authorities joining in the celebration by flying a pride flag. This simple action is a clear way to show LGBTQ+ constituents that they are recognised and that their representatives are committed to equality and diversity.

Nightlife, Hotels and Hospitality – Businesses looking to welcome guests across June may choose to use a Pride flag to highlight that their venue is not only a safe place of acceptance but also that they are part of Pride celebrations and events.

Supermarkets - As large employers in many towns and cities, it’s common to see large supermarket names involved in pride celebrations and parades. Big names in essential retail have often been at forefront of inclusive policies like including pronouns on badges, so don’t be surprised to see the Progress pride flag and others as you walk around with a trolley.

If you’re keen to support the LGBTQ+ community this June, consider flying a Progress pride flag. Flagmakers are proud to supply the design, and 8 other LGBT flags in a range of sizes. Choose high-quality flags in both printed and hand-sewn styles, starting from only £17.12. Place your order today and ensure you’re prepared to hoist the flag ready for the start of Pride month.

Got further questions about flying a Pride flag? Call us on 01246 472 949 or email sales@flagmakers.co.uk

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