Giving away my first transgender Pride flagTrans Progressive Thursday, March 17th, 2011
Commentary: Trans Progressive
Last week, I gave away one of my two transgender flags. I’ve had one particular flag since the spring of 2005. It was the first transgender flag I’d ever purchased.
Many don’t even know there is such a thing as a transgender flag, or what the flag looks like.
Well, the transgender flag’s official name is the Transgender Pride Flag. Monica Helms designed the flag, and it was originally designed to fly at Phoenix Pride in 1998.
The design of the flag has meaning. There are five stripes on the flag: two powder blue stripes as the outside stripes of the flag, then two powder pink stripes towards the center, and one white stripe as a center stripe. The blue and pink stripes represent our society’s colors for baby boys and girls, and the white stripe represents who doesn’t fit our society’s sex and gender norms for males and females.
The flag is designed in such a way that the flag can’t be flown upside-down, with the message that there is no wrong way to be gendered.
The flag I gave away has some history with me. The first event I took that transgender flag to was the 2005 San Francisco Trans Pride March. Veronica Nova and I were at the front of the march. We led the San Francisco Trans March that year. I believe 2005 was the second trans march ever held in San Francisco.
In 2006, I took the flag to San Diego’s Transgender Day of Remembrance march.
The transgender flag I gave away was carried at all of the San Diego Transgender Day of Remembrance event marches between 2005 and 2009. I arrived at the November 20, 2010 event too late with that transgender flag for the march.
That flag has also been carried in every LGBT Pride Parade in San Diego between 2006 and 2010 too, always flown with the transgender contingent.
Of course, whenever I went to any event where community flags were carried in a march or protest, I brought that transgender flag along. For example: I brought that flag to the ROTC event at Stanford I wrote about last issue; I brought that flag to the My Patriot’s Pride in Oceanside last Veterans Day; I brought that flag to North County Pride and flew the flag on the DOD Fed Globe booth.
I gave my first transgender flag away to Leanna Keyes, a transgender student at Stanford University. She’s a transgender activist with Stanford Students for Queer Liberation.
The Stanford Students for Queer Liberation have filed a case for trial against a student referendum that would gauge student opinion on whether or not an ROTC program should return to Stanford University.
Per the Stanford Daily: “Alok Vaid-Menon ’13, president of Stanford Students for Queer Liberation (SSQL), filed a petition to bring a case against the ASSU with the Constitutional Council, which was approved this week. Constitutional Council case W2011-1, Vaid-Menon v. Cardona, will determine the constitutionality of a bill passed by the Undergraduate Senate to place an “advisory referendum” question on the spring elections ballot, which is intended to gauge student opinion regarding ROTC.”
The main issue against having the referendum is that ROTC programs by design discriminate against transgender people as transgender people aren’t allowed to serve openly in the military services.
The trial was held on March 9, and Leanna Keyes gave testimony at it. Even as a freshman (Class of 2014), she felt that she needed to speak out about how transgender people are human, and allowing an organization that discriminates against transgender people to have an official presence at Stanford shouldn’t be put up for a vote.
She’s made me quite proud. I wanted to give her something that I valued that honors her activism. The first transgender flag I ever owned seemed a fitting gift.
I believe and hope she’s a young activist who very much could make her own history with that transgender flag. I hope her memories of her new flag – my old flag – are rich and significant.
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