Philly’s Pride Flag to Get Two New Stripes: Black and Brown

The flag's revamped design, to be raised for the first time during Thursday's Pride kick-off at City Hall, is intended as a symbol of city’s more outward-facing advocacy for LGBTQ people of color.

Image of new Pride flag via its designing company, Tierney.

Multiple sources closely connected with Thursday’s First Annual Pride Kick-Off at City Hall have confirmed to G Philly that the city’s Pride flag will add black and brown stripes below the traditional six-color rainbow layout. The new permanent design will be, from top to bottom: black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.

“The black and brown stripes are an inclusionary way to highlight black and brown LGBTQIA members within our community,” said one source involved with the flag-raising event who asked not to be named. “With all of the black and brown activism that’s worked to address racism in the Gayborhood over the past year, I think the new flag is a great step for the city to show the world that they’re working toward fully supporting all members of our community.”

A spokesperson for the event would not confirm the new design, but in a statement described the flag reveal as “a special, can’t-be-missed unveiling and raising of a brand-new Pride flag which promises to be a step toward inclusivity, to spur dialogue within the community, and to impact the worldwide conversation.”

The arrival of a more inclusive pride flag is another sign of visible progress over the past six months in the city’s LGBTQ community. In January, the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (PCHR) mandated that Gayborhood bars and nonprofits comply with sensitivity trainings after community complaints of racial discrimination emerged last year. In February, the Mayor’s Office named Amber Hikes, a black queer woman, as the executive director of the Office of LGBT Affairs and finally announced the members of the new Commission on LGBT Affairs, whose leadership ranks are primarily people of color. Last month, City Council unanimously passed a bill, prompted by Gayborhood racism concerns, that will give PCHR the power to issue “cease-operations orders” to businesses found to engage in a pattern of discrimination; Mayor Jim Kenney later confirmed that he would sign it into law.

The original six-color rainbow Pride flag was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978; he died in March at age 65. Although there have been several variations of the flag in the past that highlighted specific identities within the LGBTQ spectrum, this will be the first time a major institution has ever modified the flag as a way to highlight racial diversity within it.

The flag reveal and raising will take place on Thursday on the north apron of City Hall as part of the city’s first annual LGBTQ Pride Month kick-off celebration from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

This story has been updated with an image of the flag the Mayor’s Office has confirmed will be used. It was created by Tierney and is a part of the new “More Color More Pride” campaign.