SA Pride: The meaning behind the flag
During Pride Month, you’ll often see the rainbow flag proudly displayed as a symbol for the LGBTQ rights movement. But how did this flag become a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) pride?
The first rainbow flag was designed by Gilbert Baker, an openly gay man, in 1978, and later revealed that Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States, urged him to create a symbol of pride for the gay community. Baker decided to design a flag because flags are the most powerful symbol of communal self-identity and courage. Baker saw a rainbow as nature’s way of creating a natural flag, so he adopted eight colours for the stripes, each with its own meaning (hot pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for spirit).
Since then there have been a number of different flags, each representing a different aspect of sexuality, from Bisexual to Intersex and Genderfluid. Below is a helpful guide to the various, unique flags that you may see at the next Pride event:
Vodacom supports LGBTQIA+
Vodacom has been the main sponsor of both Cape Town Pride and Johannesburg Pride events. As part of Cape Town Pride, we sponsored the Vodacom Rainbow Pride Fun Run where we encouraged staff and the general community to participate in a fun run along the Sea Point promenade in Cape Town. Vodacom handed out T-shirts and lanyards as well as prizes to the event participants bearing the Vodacom LGBTIQA+ brand logos.
We also designed and published a full-page advert in the Cape Town Pride magazine, showing our support and commitment to the community at large. At Johannesburg Pride, we sponsored a prize for the Pride of Africa awards dinner. This dinner was held to acknowledge members of the community who are making a difference in the world around them, through education, blogging and campaigning.
As South Africans, we’re fortunate enough to live in a country where our post-apartheid constitution was the first in the world to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation. South Africa was also the fifth country in the world, and the first in Africa, to legalise same-sex marriage.
While many gains have been made by the community, it is important to remember that the flag is not only a symbol of celebration but also a reminder of the hardships and sacrifices made for these gains. You can find out more about Johannesburg Pride’s #PrideIsMoreThanColour campaign here.
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