By Salina Bret, More Light Blog contributor
Let’s hear it for our fair, flying flag,
Pink, white and blue,
The Transgender Flag!
A color for boys, A color for girls
A color for those ‘tween
Bruises and curls.
No matter what mix of body and mind,
Inside you’re you!
A fabulous find!
There is some buzz in the social media circles about August 19th being Transgender Flag Day. I thought it might be a good idea to share some of the flag’s history and to offer a thought or two on how to encourage a transgender person that you might know!
The commonly seen pink, white, and blue Transgender Flag was created by Monica Helms, a transgender activist and Navy veteran. (Hey, she and I already have two things in common!) It is true that she created the flag on August 19, 1999 and that the Smithsonian accepted that original flag into the National Museum of American History on August 19, 2014.
To date, there is no formal Transgender Flag Day, or Trans Pride Flag Day, or other variations on that theme. What you see on social media posts are the groundswells of transgender people and advocates publicizing the day that the Smithsonian accepted the flag. It is a way to honor both the flag and our community.
For those less acquainted with the transgender community, it’s diverse. There are a lot of people who gladly fly the pink, white, and blue flag, but there are many who feel that their gender identity is not well defined by it. There are many other colored flags to identify subgroups within the LGBTQIA+ community. I will say this: If you are to go to a large Pride Event, there are two flags that stand out. Foremost is the 6-color Rainbow Flag. Running a distant, but distinct second is the Transgender Flag.
Well, the “so what” is that the transgender community is slowly but surely coming out into the open. For the past few decades sexuality has been the equal rights point of the Rainbow Radiant spear. While much work is yet to be done for equal rights for the gay, lesbian, and bi-sexual community, the American public is reaching a place of acceptance with same-sex relationships. Gender identity, however, has not quite finished their work in the bathroom, so to speak. We still have a lot of work to do to define ourselves both within the LGBTQIA+ community and to the American public.
When I see vendors selling the Transgender Flag alongside the Rainbow Flag, I know a significant foothold has been gained in recognizing us as a distinct group of people within the wide spectrum of humanity.
Perhaps you know someone who is transgender. If you do, there are a few things that you can do to brighten their day, whether it’s August 19th or any other day of the year.
- Use proper pronouns. It really does lift our spirits.
- Ask about our personal journey. You’ll discover that our stories are unique and varied. (Many of them are rather fascinating!)
- Offer a tiny compliment on our appearance or something we’re working on. Many transgender people receive criticism and sometimes outright hostility from family and former friends and strangers. It’s good for us to hear a kind word.
- And since this is a CHURCH related blog, be sure to let your trans friend know that you’re happy that they are attending your church and that their friends are also welcome.
It’s not a huge list nor one that’s complicated. What goes on inside our mind and spirit is complex, but the simple things really do make a big difference.
My final thought is a Ky Peterson quote:
“As a trans person, having just one person validate your life can men the difference between life and death.”
Happy Transgender Flag Day!