In most every neighborhood where LGBTQ-identifying people live, the rainbow flag proudly waves in the background as a symbol of solidarity and acceptance. Its now a ubiquitous symbol of pride, of letting others now that “we’re here and proud”. Sometimes, though, I tire of seeing this symbol used by businesses to attract ‘gay money’, used in pride parades to cover genitals, co-opted by the media as an effeminate symbol of struggle. What if we could re-design, re-imagine and re-active this symbol? Queer it, if you will? What would it look like?
During a recent session of QueerLab, we worked on doing just that; creating a queer version of the rainbow flag. The new flag is imagined as a kind of queer compass that is always spinning, indeterminate, and with great velocity. The rainbow is now a color wheel, not a field of stripes, but rather a circuitous and connected line that always comes back to the end, only to be swallowed by the ‘beginning’ again. It’s rhizomatic in nature, always changing and able to find dissonance in what it means and symbolizes to anyone. The final pieces were hand-embroidered by visiting artist April Bartlett!
It now hangs in the CoLab for use during outings, adventures and events.