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let's talk about the lesbian flag

2021-02-12 @ 20:09 UTC

this isn't going to be a very long post because other people have put it way more eloquently than me already, but i wanted to voice my personal feelings regarding how some people approach the whole lesbian pride flag situation

so the lipstick lesbian (and therefore, the non-lipstick lesbian flag that derived from it by simply removing the lipstick silhouette) is bad, i'm going to assume you agree with that if you're still reading this post. cool, but that was the "de-facto" lesbian flag for the past decade or so, so where do we go from here?

given the nature of a lot of most vocal queer spaces being both online and frequented by a younger audience, naturally there was a poll held on tumblr of all places where people could vote for what the would replace the lesbian flag with. i didn't get to voice my opinon on this poll, since i only found out about it long after it had run its course, so i can't imagine it had a very good sampling of lesbian culture. it makes me wonder what older lesbian people who have been going to pride parades for several decades now think what "the" lesbian flag should be, i don't think i've ever heard anything to that tone through my circles. so, from my understanding, the resulting sunset flag was picked by a fairly young community:

sunset lesbian flag

and they were vocal about it and it got picked up as the new de-facto lesbian flag. it's in sims 4, it's in blue's clues. and hey, good for them! they're getting the representation they wanted! but i feel like it's a little unfair to people who didn't get a say in the matter. like i get how they got to that design by simplifying the older lesbian flag and changing the tones so that it can distance itself more from the problematic original. and it's convenient to have something that isn't that big of a change to keep familiarity. but personally me, for example, i don't think that's good enough? i'd like an entirely new flag, unburdened from past baggage. and that's why i prefer this one presented by Lydia and remixed by Maya Kern in this since-deleted and now-archived Medium post:

sapphic lesbian flag

the way the flag is constructed from an interpretation of a poem by Sappho personally speaks to me much more than trying to remix and reclaim a flag that the same group of people have since demonized so much. i like this flag better, and it's my lesbian flag. i don't want to use the sunset flag, and i don't want to feel any less of a lesbian for not using the sunset flag, and i'm sure i'm not alone in this sentiment. likewise, i don't want to denounce anyone who uses the sunset flag either! and this is where i think the takeaway from the tumblr post in the first link of this post is important:

There is no "official" lesbian flag. At this point, reaching a consensus is unlikely.

Maybe insular lesbian communities will settle on one, but that doesn't amount to a universal lesbian flag.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, though.

We have other symbols of pride. The lesbians who came before us were loud and proud through other means.

As for merch? Sometimes I think we forget that Gilbert Baker made the rainbow flag for us too.

maybe you don't agree with the entire sentiment, and i don't want to force you to. but i think it's important to let people express themselves through whichever symbols of pride they want to use. my lesbian flag is the sapphic flag made by Lydia and Maya Kern, but it doesn't have to be yours.

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