On July 2, in what seemed to be an attempt for the Washington Post to acquire as many clicks to their website as possible, an article entitled "Why you should stop waiving the rainbow flag on Facebook" was posted and a wave of backlash and comments quickly ensued.
In it, the author Peter Moskowitz, describes how he grew up seeing the rainbow pride flag as a sign that he was different and in seeing it, it made him extremely uncomfortable. He continued to explain that he felt that that our straight allies who changed their profile pictures to display a rainbow flag on it were either doing so to look politically correct or since they did not actively partake in the battle fought to gain marriage equality were seen waiving the flag as an "empty gesture."
While this article seems better suited as a diary entry and less so an article for the Washington Post, the LGBTQ community has made some amazing strides in the past few years - strides many members of the community never thought we would reach. Yes, we still have work to do. Yes, HIV and AIDS are still running rampant in the community. Yes, there are still issues with transgender rights. There will always be issues. The human experience -- any human experience is fraught with obstacles and hurdles and as long you are alive, chances are you will find someone who stands in your way or disagrees with what you believe in. In the age of social media, we tend to live in a world where our victories are celebrated all too briefly and we are quickly racing to complain about the next big issue without taking a moment to revel in the our hard fought achievement. Personally, I found it quite remarkable that so many people stood up in support of the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of gay marriage. Gay, straight, bi-sexual - all standing together in solidarity for a progressive ruling that not only changed the country but also forced many people to finally see their LGBTQ counterparts as equals.
We live in a world where conspiracy theories are abound and everyone has started the question: "was Facebook offering pride profile pictures as a psychologic test?" and "big companies are only supporting gay marriage because they don't want to seem like bigots." To the naysayers and to Mr. Moskowitz, I offer this: What difference does it make? Support is support. It doesn't matter if my straight best friend has never been gay bashed or has never been denied the right to get married, he has seen the struggles that I have had to endure therefore, he supports me. I didn't storm the beaches of Normandy but I'm certainly appreciative of the fact that we aren't living in a world full of Nazis. You don't need to have gone through the journey to be able to stand in solidarity and show support.
If we want to a have a serious conversation about flags, let's go ahead and talk about how we need to completely rid this country of the Confederate flag and not a flag that is viewed by so many as a wonderful expression of rights.
Quite frankly, I was overwhelmed with with gay pride when my co-workers, friends and family members changed their Facebook profile pictures to support marriage quality. It shows a drastic change in how this country views the community that I am a part of. Without our allies, our race would not yet be won and I can only image what the AIDS epidemic of the 1980's would have looked like had there been this sort of support for the community thirty years ago. This is what change looks like: get on board the choo choo people or you're going to look like a bunch of spoiled, unappreciative brats.
Yes, we have a long road to travel before we have one hundred per cent of the rights our straight allies have. However, let's take a moment, shut the fuck up and enjoy this victory for a least a week before we start complaining about why and how straight people support us. Now we have the right to legally marry and with that came a lot of support from our allies and with that support so much more work can and will be done. To many, this small token of changing a profile picture is what they can do now to show support and to some that's just the beginning. So let's leave those rainbow Facebook profiles up -- show your support and continue to do so until the very last battle is fought and won.