GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Opinion

June 21, 2013

Letter: Rainbow flag rooted in inclusion for all

To the editor:

With Gay Pride Month winding down, and with all the discussion about the rainbow flag flying at Grant Circle — and with some responses to it being flat out wrong — I thought it necessary to set the record straight about the flag.

Several anonymous posters in the paper’s echo chamber insisted the flag represented gay men and lesbians and that it excluded all others. Those posters are woefully ignorant of the flag’s history.

The rainbow flag was actually the inspiration of the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his organization once known as PUSH —People United to Save Humanity. The flag’s origins lie in the urban world of Chicago and it was meant to be a symbol of the diversity — be it racial, ethnic, gender-related, or socio-economic in nature — so typical of the nation’s large urban centers.

It is true that the gay community embraced the symbolism behind the flag more than some other communities, but there is nothing exclusively gay or exclusionary about the flag. It was always meant to be a symbol of both the diversity and the similarities that make being human such a unique and special experience.

I have said before that, by agreeing to fly the flag, Mayor Kirk deserves credit not just for tipping her hat to Cape Ann’s many gay residents this month, but to all Cape Ann residents who are so important to making this place the special place that it is.

The rainbow flag is a symbol for all people. Anyone who thinks otherwise is sadly mistaken.

MICHAEL COOK

Gloucester

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