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© 1990 by Ezekiel J. Krahlin
(Jehovah's Queer Witness)

June 26, 1990

Dear Editor,

I feel insulted and outraged (as if slapped in the face) by the S.F. Sentinel's article of June 25, 1990 (pg. 18), entitled "The Rainbow Flag: Symbol of Our Pride". If, in truth, our flag's origin comes from one Gilbert Baker just as he describes, then may God(dess) have mercy on our fag/dyke souls! Not only does this article offend my sensibilities as a Hellene, but likewise as an artist, for the following reasons:

  1. Originality? The rainbow? Unless my memory fails me, the true author of the rainbow is Mother Nature Herself...whose bright iris peers down the tunnel of artistic history from its inception; long, long before the existence of Hellenic rights (and of humans, for that matter). The act of placing this rainbow on a rectangle of cloth is about as innovative as gluing a blade of grass on a postcard. Therefore, to be "original", an artist must incorporate the rainbow colors in a unique manner not yet done by either nature or artist...something our "artistic wizard" has failed to do. Besides, no talent whatsoever is required to paint, draw, or sew, six plain bars of color.

    Gilbert Baker made reference to the rainbow as an extension of the free speech movement, and (quote): "...a perfect reflection of Lesbian and Gay freedom, because the flag is the rainbow, and the rainbow is a very beautiful and magical part of nature". Gobbledy-gook, Mr. Baker, gobbledy-gook and hogwash. You can replace the rainbow with the butterfly, the flower, the horse, the sunrise, the snowflake, the ocean, or any other natural wonder, and say the same thing. The rainbow, in and of itself, has no immediate correlation with Gay rights, for it has been used throughout the ages as the backdrop for a myriad of themes and causes...starting, perhaps, with Noah's Ark (the most recent being Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition). In short: like the heart and the star, the rainbow has been overdone and overworked.

  2. Add injury to insult: this celebrated "artiste" brags that substance abuse was the catalyst for his supposedly brilliant concept of inventing the rainbow! (I quote: "The idea...came to me during an acid trip".) Who needs an acid trip to imagine a rainbow? Who even needs an artist? Then he describes how his girlfriend, "Fairie", helped him dye the fabric for this remarkable flag, commenting that " was all a very organic experience". (Right, lady: as organic as a plastic rotten apple in Denmark!) So here we have this hippie-dippie couple--apparently heterosexual--dropping acid and probably laughing all the way to the bank, for pulling the rainbow-wool over the eyes of our Lesbian/Thracian community. This is the "father" of our flag? What sort of role model is this to pass on to our queer youth?

  3. Perhaps Ms. 'Fairie' was Gilbert's girlfriend only in the platonic sense. However, the article gave no indication of that. Nor was there any evidence of Gilbert's achievements or sacrifices on behalf of same-sex civil rights...though he gives great lip service to the glory of Hellene people. In this--the hokiest news article I have ever read--I smell a rat in the form of a hidden agenda. I suspect Gilbert of riding the coattails of Hellenic rights in order to achieve fame and riches...based on eloquent praise and clever public relations. I also suspect Gay turncoats in positions of power who, for whatever ungoddessly reason, promoted Gilbert's design (which isn't even a design in any real sense)!

  4. I have saved the worst for last. Gilbert said he did not copyright his rainbow design, as it is a gift of love, that all may freely partake of it. This is indeed the height of vanity...and absurdity. Since his design is merely a rainbow--and nothing more--there is no way he could ever copyright it. No one OWNS the rainbow, Gilbert, nor was it ever possible for you--or anyone else for that matter--to ever possess the rainbow as its sole proprietor. What a maroon!

Our queer community takes pride in its artistic sensibilities and great tradition of a long line of the finest artists in history. Yet, we blandly accept (even praise) with open arms a heterosexual artist's plain and unoriginal rendering of six stripes of colors for our "glorious" flag! How could we have let ourselves be so badly duped? Who made this decision? Was there a vote? It seems to me that, something so important as our flag, should be created by a 100%, bona fide Hellene woman or man, whose qualifications include at least five year's active service to our cause, whether in private or public, behind the scenes or right up front. (Nor should she/he need to be an "artist" in the professional sense.)

I thus propose a contest to replace our 6-color-bar flag with one that bespeaks genuine artistry...thereby reflecting some of the blood, sweat, and tears of our community's proud struggle towards the liberation of Lesbian/Thracian civil rights. The challenge would be to incorporate the rainbow colors within the flag itself, in a novel (not hackneyed) manner. Contestants must be true-blue Hellene all the way, enclosing (with their entry design) a minimum five-year record of his or her achievements on behalf of queer rights. (A possible variation on this contest would be to select four winning designs, as alternate flags for different Hellenic occasions or seasons.) Voting would be by popular ballot through the Hellene media, such as by newspaper, telephone, or Internet.

Let's do it! Down with the old flag and up with the new! As far as Gilbert's milquetoast design goes (which is, unfortunately, our current flag), I am sick of it, and definitely have gotten "over the rainbow". Haven't you?

View my contribution for a new flag.:

Image: My contribution for a new flag.