Take Pride in Atlanta and the LGBTQ rainbow beyond simple symbolism

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Call me Judy, because I’m over the rainbow. Seriously.

The knee-jerk overuse of that particular symbol has become so annoying to me as someone who’s job is queer all year, it’s all but banned from the editorial features of Q publications.

Except this week — when Q ATLus, Project Q Atlanta and our contributors can do more than slap on a rainbow and call it gay.

Usually, it’s lazy. This time, it’s on purpose.

If we’re not wielding the rainbow with intention, too many assume showing it means “everyone” is included. So many alternative LGBTQ Pride flags say plenty of people don’t feel that way.

For me, a carelessly flung rainbow whispers that we may be taking some people for granted. It feels hollow, and as if we don’t recognize or honor the diversity that Atlanta is and should be known for.

Pride Week is special

Not just because this year has no official festival or parade, Pride is different. This is the week that the rainbow flies and our people – as well as those who oppose our equality – see it, really see it.

This week, the flag commemorates and celebrates achievements. It remembers and mourns losses. We notice it more collectively and purposely than the rest of the year. When it flies from Midtown porches or across website banners, when it graces profile pics and corporate logos, we know it’s a special time.

For one weekend, it’s the rainbow Gilbert Baker that intended back in 1978. It’s your rainbow, and yes, it even warms my cold, cynical old heart.

Five decades on

It’s been some 50 years since the first handful of LGBTQ Atlantans marched through Midtown for “gay liberation.”  Whether or not we gather, whether we attend a single event, it’s safe to say a lot has happened in five decades that’s worth noting.

It’s also a great weekend to remember that time will slowly reveal even more to love for all of us— for every stripe, every flag, every person behind that beleagured rainbow.

Ping me with your Pride thoughts this week on our social messengers or by email. And I’ll work on releasing my issues with the rainbow as we all look inward for our true colors.

Mike Fleming is editor and publisher of Q ATLus, Project Q Atlanta and the Q family of publications. Write [email protected].

This article appeared in Q ATLus magazine. Read the full issue online here:

Pick up each new edition of QATLus at LGBTQ and allied venues around Atlanta.

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