Can you share current perspectives on the pride flag and trans flag?
November 7, 2019 8:22 AM   Subscribe

Within my organization, there has been rising awareness of the transgender day of remembrance, culminating in an event. The organizers - who identify as trans - have asked the org and attending individuals to not display rainbow pride flags/symbols during the event, just trans flags/symbols.

The explanation for this is that the trans community is offended by the pride flag b/c it has historically excluded them, and that they just prefer having the trans flag/symbols present.

This is all fine with me, but just wondering if anyone more connected could provide insight on this take, and any commentary, published or not.
posted by RajahKing to Human Relations (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
[WaPo] Powerful gay rights groups excluded trans people for decades — leaving them vulnerable to Trump’s attack -- Here's a pretty good run down of the history by a transgender activist connecting it to present day.
posted by foxfirefey at 8:46 AM on November 7 [6 favorites]

Hi, I'm speaking here as a bisexual woman who is not trans but who has several trans friends. Foxfirefey's link above gives a great overview of how mainstream LGBT rights organizations have historically excluded trans people.

To address the issue of the flag itself: in popular culture the rainbow flag has become much more closely associated with "gay" than "trans". The same is true of the initials LGBT; people tend to use LGBT as a politically-correct way of saying "gay" and forget about the T.

This hurts trans people in many ways; for example, a restaurant might display a rainbow flag in their front window but have gendered bathrooms (which can potentially put trans people in a dangerous situation), or a discussion of "LGBT" healthcare issues might omit the barriers trans people face in accessing hormone therapy.

Because of this erasure from the mainstream LGBT rights movement, some trans people are understandably skeptical of the rainbow flag and don't have positive feelings towards it as a symbol.
posted by mekily at 8:56 AM on November 7 [10 favorites]

There's a lot of highly visible anti-trans sentiment coming from ostensibly-LGB circles at the moment, in particular a widely publicised incident at London Pride in 2018.
Historically it's been very common for spaces advertised as "LGBT" to be at least oblivious, or at worst actively hostile, to the existence and needs of trans people.
posted by quacks like a duck at 9:46 AM on November 7 [7 favorites]

Yes, the general exclusion and erasure of trans people from LGBTQ+ spaces and movements is the main problem. Even using the trans flag obscures the fact that trans women of color, and specifically Black trans women, are the members of the community most affected by violence. Did you know that the average life expectancy for Black trans women is between 30-35 years? Seeing the rainbow flag on TDoR instead of the trans flag would read to me like well-intentioned ignorance, but ignorance just the same.
posted by zebra at 10:59 AM on November 7 [3 favorites]

As a trans person, I don't have any hostility to the rainbow flag. But I wouldn't bring it to Trans Day of Remembrance, and if you asked me for advice I'd tell you not to either.

I definitely believe trans people are full members of the LGBT movement. I even feel pretty included at Pride, though I know lots of others don't. I wear a rainbow pin myself. But TDoR is not an "LGBT" event. It is specifically a trans event, by and for trans people. That day of all days, you should use trans symbols.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:59 AM on November 7 [25 favorites]

Think of it like this: would you bring a Canadian flag to a 9/11 memorial? Speaking as someone from the US, the US and Canada have many things in common, and I have positive feelings about Canada, but that isn't the right time or place for it.
posted by Aleyn at 12:50 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]

I am a trans person agreeing with nebulawindphone. Trans-specific = trans flag.

I wouldn't be offended per se if you or an attendee had a rainbow flag. I'd know that your event wasn't actually for or about trans people, but rather cis people.
posted by hoyland at 3:37 AM on November 8

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