Let your rainbow flag opinions be known

Posted: August 17th, 2018 | Conversations with Nicole, Featured | 8 Comments

By Nicole Murray Ramirez | Conversations with Nicole

As many of you know, some LGBT organizations decided to add the black and brown colors to our “rainbow flag”… starting with Philadelphia Pride and now unbelievably the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) in Washington, D.C. Yes, I am a past national board member of the HRC and absolutely believe they do outstanding work on our behalf but changing our rainbow flag without our opinions — hell no!

I believe any and all LGBT organizations wanting to change our community’s and a civil rights movement’s flag should seek a vote from their LGBT community, period. The overwhelming response about adding a black and a brown stripe to our flag has been negative. As I have said before, I knew the creator of our flag who recently died, and I know Gilbert (Baker) is rolling over in his grave right now. I am proud to be a gay man of color and have been an LGBT activist since the 1970s. But, if we are going to add a black and brown stripe for my Latino and black brothers and sisters, then let’s go all the way and add a white stripe for my Caucasian brothers and sisters.

(Wiki Commons)

Let your opinions and voices be known. Contact the HRC and any others who are changing our rainbow flag…thank you for listening.

Lillian Faderman and
Phyllis Irwin

LGBT legends. World-renowned author/historian Dr. Lillian Faderman and pianist/photographer Dr. Phyllis Irwin will be celebrating 47 years together this fall and Lillian (78) and Phyllis (89) are indeed outstanding role models for us all. They have more energy and spirit than people half their age. Lillian has written 15, yes 15, award-winning books including “The Gay Revolution”(the No. 1 book on our LGBT movement) and one about the many lives and the death of Harvey Milk. Lillian is an internationally known author and Phyllis is the “Norman Rockwell” of photography. Big Mike and I had dinner last week at their beautiful three-story La Jolla home and we spent hours telling stories, experiences and, yes, good ol’ LGBT gossip. The icing on the cake for me was that Phyllis played my favorite Rachmaninoff on her Steinway grand piano! Phyllis was a prodigy student at the State Academy for Music and Dramatic Art in Vienna, Austria.

(L to r) Dr. Phyllis Irwin and Dr. Lillian Faderman will be celebrating 47 years together (Photo by Nicole Murray Ramirez)

The current exhibit on San Diego’s LGBT community at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park, which is getting record-breaking crowds, was headed up by Lillian. San Diego is indeed fortunate to be the home of two icons and I, and other community leaders and activists, will be nominating Phyllis and Lillian to be our Grand Marshals for our 2019 Pride Parade!

And no, the rumors that I used to babysit Lillian are not true.

Nicole’s Quickie
Movie Review

“Mamma Mia II” -Wow…now fab impersonator Chad Michaels looks better than Cher herself! I give this movie a C-. San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus music is much better.

“The Meg” -get ready to pee in your panties — this is one scary movie! I will never go in the water again but loved this movie.

“BlacKkKlansman” –Great, true story. I would give this movie an A. Very entertaining and the end will kick you in the gut with the truth of today. Isn’t that difference sad to say?

Disney’s “Christopher Robin” -The first one was wonderful but this one is so boring. I recommend this for everyone at Florence Elementary School, minus the teachers.

“Mission Impossible: Fallout”-A+ … the best ever … great eye candy too!

“The Spy Who Dumped Me”- Well, you will want to take a real “dump” after this. It’s about as funny as being told your cat died.

“Ant Man and the Wasp” – You would rather spend a night in a “Roach Motel” than see this.

“McQueen” -Fabulous documentary. Every queen should see this, including us who shop at the Goodwill. Sad to see the Barras Thrift Shop in Hillcrest close down, by the way.

—Nicole Murray Ramirez has been writing a column since 1973. He has been a Latino/gay activist for almost half a century and has advised and served the last seven mayors of San Diego. Named the “Honorary Mayor of Hillcrest” by a city proclamation, he has received many media awards including from the prestigious San Diego Press Club. Reach Nicole at

Editor’s Note: The opinions written in this column are the author’s own and does not necessarily represent the opinions of the staff and/or publisher of Gay San Diego and/or its parent company, San Diego Community News Network (SDCNN). The newspaper and its staff should be held harmless of liability or damages.


  1. Steve leman says:

    Leave the rainbow flag alone. Six strips are enough.

  2. meredith vezina says:

    If the brown and black stripes symbolize a more inclusive community and people of color feel more welcome then by all means.

  3. Jamie Arangure says:

    I’m a Latina trans women, and I’m not agree to add two more colors to our flag, first they need the opinion of our community , and second the Original flag is not in all the world.

  4. Rick says:

    The rainbow is simple, direct, ‘natural,’ inclusive, and everyone knows what it means. It’s pretty and it’s everywhere. The stripes don’t connect with specific letters in the (increasingly long) list.

    You don’t build unity through division or increased complexity.

  5. Clifford says:

    Leave The flag alone. We have enough in the Trump dump to worry about vs some flag changes. Let’s concentrate on an HIV council vs adding flag colors.

    Leave it the way it is

  6. Carlos says:

    I do think that if a flag is changed, it should be because the peolpe whom it represents agree on that change. That said, I don’t see why anyone would oppose adding stripes. Our community, in general terms, is characterized for opposing convention. By definition we aren’t conservatives: if we were we wouldn’t have come out of the closet and start relationships with the people we love. If we were conservatives, we would have upheld convention and marry people of the opposite sex and lead an unhappy life, rather than lived our truth. Therefore, it follows that we don’t subscribe to convention, and our beloved flag, as much of a symbol as it is, it is a convention. If we want it to live up to what it represents and to what keeps our community moving forward, we should change it ever so often to represent our diverse and ever-more-inclusive community. You do build unity by acknowledging differences between members of our community and saying those differences are appreciated and do make as stronger. I personally think that we shouldn’t just include black and brown, but also pink and sky blue. And on why we don’t include a white stripe, the reason, for me, is that white people still have white privilege that TLGB people of color don’t have, and white people are already represented by the colors of the rainbow in the flag. Adding a white stripe is tantamount to having a “straight pride” parade, when straight people don’t get discriminated for being straight. Yes, white members of the TLGB community are discriminated, but members of color are discriminated twice, and some times by members of our own community. That is why in my view we need the black and brown stripes.

  7. Eric says:

    Jamie and Steve, you couldn’t be more wrong. These organizations do NOT need our opinion to add their presence in the flag, and to say so is to be the epitome of censorship. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

  8. Graham says:

    It’s not replacing the flag.
    We have dozens of variations on the rainbow flag, that you are not bothered by. None of them are replacements. This is another one. This one has you (and many others) up in arms. I wonder what the difference is — couldn’t be because this one has to do with race, could it?

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