From the desk of Curve’s Publisher, Franco Stevens
The rainbow Pride flag is the most widely recognized symbol of the LGBTQ+ community. Each year, the beautiful Beaux-Arts San Francisco City Hall recognizes Pride by lighting its gorgeous facade in that iconic rainbow. As Lesbian Visibility Week, April 24 – 30, approached, it occurred to me that many people, lesbians included, may not be aware that there is a specific flag for our lesbian community. The lesbian flag, like lesbians ourselves, is often overlooked. This year, I decided to do something about that.
I reached out to the San Francisco Supervisors and explained the importance of the lesbian flag. There are several different iterations of the lesbian flag, and, like the rainbow Pride flag, it seems to be evolving. The Curve Community Facebook Group proudly uses the colors of the lesbian flag – shades of pink, orange and white. Each stripe has symbolic meanings: According to Wikipedia, the colors include dark orange for “gender nonconformity,” orange for “independence,” light orange for “community,” white for “unique relationships to womanhood,” pink for “serenity and peace,” dusty pink for “love and sex,” and dark rose for “femininity.” The overall flag’s design is meant to represent our community’s strength, resilience and true beauty.
“I can’t describe the feeling of seeing City Hall lit up in the colors of the lesbian flag for the first time.”
I’m proud to share that Rafael Mendelman, one of the (gay male) San Francisco Supervisors, agreed to light up San Francisco City Hall in the colors of the lesbian flag on April 28 in honor of Lesbian Visibility Week. I can’t describe the feeling of seeing City Hall lit up in the colors of the lesbian flag for the first time. It was an incredible moment of pride and excitement, and it reminded me of the power of activism and the importance of fighting for what we believe in.
Having our own flag is a symbol and a reminder that each of our experiences are not solitary – we are all part of a community that deserves recognition and respect. Lesbian and queer women’s voices have historically been marginalized, silenced and censored from national and international conversation.
The celebration of Lesbian Visibility Day has grown over time, leading Diva magazine publisher Linda Riley to declare “Lesbian Visibility Week” in 2020. Expanding from a single day to a whole week allows for more events and activities to be organized, providing more opportunities for lesbian individuals and allies to come together, celebrate and advocate for our rights and visibility. It also helps ensure that the celebration of lesbian visibility is not just a one-time event but an ongoing effort to promote greater awareness, acceptance and support for the lesbian community.
For me, the illumination of City Hall is more than just a symbol of visibility for the lesbian community. It is a testament to the power of community organizing and the importance of standing up for what we believe in. It is a reminder that change is possible, even in the face of adversity and skepticism.
Above all, it was a moment of hope and inspiration as we continue to work towards a future where all members of the LGBTQ+ community are valued, heard and honored. I hope other cities will see this and be inspired, and I hope that the LGBTQ+ women’s community feels seen and valued. By celebrating Lesbian Visibility Week, we can create a culture of acceptance and inclusion and help to create a more equal and just society for all.
If you’re feeling inspired, know you can make a difference, too. Consider reaching out to your city officials or local business owners and encourage them to light up buildings in your hometown with the colors of the lesbian flag next year for Lesbian Visibility Week. By taking action, you can help raise awareness and visibility for the lesbian community in your own community. Remember, one person really can make a difference.