Dear President Trump,

Last night around 9:15 as we were winding down to go to bed I was in the kitchen and Laura was already upstairs when we called out to each other at the same time to look out back; there was a full rainbow arcing across the sky to the East against dark gray clouds. Have you ever seen a rainbow that late at night? I haven’t. It was so cool. It didn’t last all that long, just a couple of minutes. I’m so glad we were calling it a night on the early side and had unglued from our usual perches in the living room on the West side of the house.

Seeing the rainbow last night fits with my intention to focus on positive stuff for a while – the apparently endless loop of negativity swirling around you is feeling especially oppressive and I need a break. I scanned through both the WP and the HP this morning looking for some positive human-interest-y stories to tell you about, but other than the gay actor getting to play a gay faux-Elizabethan character in some new TV show and a painter getting to spend six weeks copying Gustave Corbet’s The Origin of the World in the d’Orsay Museum (an oil painting of an anonymous woman’s vaginal area, which had never been the subject of a formal copy but was the subject of a lot of editorial commentary from museum goers), I came up empty. Neither of those stories really grabbed me so I’m going back to the rainbow theme.

The last couple of mornings I’ve passed by a house several blocks away that has a Pride flag hanging in the front window, which in and of itself isn’t all that remarkable in our neighborhood. This one, though, has two more stripes than the original, one brown and one black. It obviously is meant to make the flag more inclusive but I don’t recall ever having seen it before so I looked it up, as I’m wont to do. I found a cool website that catalogs the history of Pride flags: (https://www.pride.com/pride/2018/6/13/complete-guide-queer-pride-flags-0#media-gallery-media-24)

It was put together last year so there may be more now, but I was surprised to see 24 flags on the list. The Gilbert Baker Pride Flag started things off in 1977. Harvey Milk asked Baker to design a flag that would symbolize gay pride and Baker zeroed in on the “Over the Rainbow” song, which makes perfect sense in so many ways and has me tearing up as I type this ~

Somewhere over the rainbow / Way up high / And the dreams that you dream of / Once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow/ Bluebirds fly / And the dreams that you dream of / Dreams really do come true

Pretty damn perfect. Still.

The flag I saw in the window is the Philadelphia People of Color Inclusive Flag and it was introduced in 2017. It’s surely a better, more aspirational, side of Philadelphia than the hundreds of police officers there who were found to be saying shitty things about people of color, Muslims, and women (and almost certainly LGBTQ people even though this wasn’t specified in the NPR article I saw today) on Facebook. Dang. Us human beings can be so messed up.

Back to the Pride flags. I’m sure there are some groups not represented, but among the 24 it seems like pretty much everyone is covered. Here’s a partial list of groups that had flags as of 2018: pansexuals, bisexuals, asexuals, polyamory, intersex, transgender, genderfluid, genderqueer, lipstick lesbians, bear brotherhood, and straight allies. Scrolling through the website is to be treated to quite a lot of very interesting combinations of colorful stripes (with the occasional white, black, and gray stripes) and to a tiny glimpse into some of the variety of humanity that’s always been with us. Always.

May we be safe to be our colorful selves.
May we be happy when our kid (sister, grandpa….) tells us they identify with flag # X.
May we support everyone’s health and well-being.
May we have the courage to be at peace with the whole spectrum of us.

Tracy Simpson

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