The Student Center has a new centerpiece for Temple University’s LGBTQ community: the Progress Pride flag.
The Progress Pride flag is an inclusive version of the widely known pride flag and represents more marginalized groups in the LGBTQ community. The canvas-sized version of the flag was placed in the Student Center on Friday after requests from the Temple community and discussions between the Student Center Operations staff.
Daniel Quasar, a Portland-based designer, redesigned the pride flag to give it more meaning, according to Quasar’s website. The Progress Pride flag is made up of six rainbow-colored stripes and five stripes in the shape of an arrow to symbolize inclusion of marginalized groups within the LGBTQ community
The five stripes are light blue, light pink and white, symbolizing transgender and non-binary people, and black and brown for people of color, according to Quasar’s website. The black stripe also represents people living with AIDS, those who’ve died and the stigma surrounding them. The arrow on the left side of the flag indicates that progress still needs to be made and points toward the right to symbolize acceptance moving forward in the LGBTQ community, according to Quasar’s website.
Hansen Bursic, a junior film major who identifies as queer, said it’s amazing to see such a powerful symbol of the LGBTQ community in the Student Center.
“To have this flag up here rather than in some corner somewhere in some other part of the university is so powerful,” he said. “It really shows that the university wants to publicly show students that they’re here for us, but also that they are here for the most marginalized in our community.”
“We decided to do the Progress Pride flag because we wanted to be as inclusive as we could be,” said Jason Levy, the senior director of Student Center Operations. “That flag design is really more inclusive than just the pride flag.”
Gilbert Baker, the late designer, flag-maker and gay rights activist, created the widely known pride flag in 1978. Recently, Philadelphia has shown more inclusion toward people of color in the LGBTQ community.
The City of Philadephia raised the More Color More Pride flag, which has a black and brown stripe, outside City Hall for the first time in June 2017.
The More Color More Pride flag was revolutionary, but the Progress Pride flag is unique since the creator added to the existing history of the pride flag while centering the problems the LGBTQ community faces today, specifically for transgender, people of color and transgender people of color, Bursic said.
The Progress Pride flag is mounted on a wall near the 63 flags representing Temple students’ home countries.
The university also decided to add 14 more flags to the display this year, Levy said. The flags from the United States, China, South Korea and India always stay on the wall since a majority of students are from those countries, but the rest of the flags are changed every year so students can see their flag flying in the atrium, Levy added.
“We have about three million people that come through our doors every year and we want everyone that comes to the Student Center to feel like they’re part of something special,” Levy said. “I know the flag program is part of the feeling for folks.”
Hailey McCormack, the director of communications for Temple Student Government, said the countries’ flags represent all students, and by adding the Progress Pride flag Temple’s LGBTQ community is represented, too.
“It’s a strong step in the right direction in making sure that we as a university, as student government, in general, are recognizing the needs of students who identify in the LGBTQ community,” McCormack said.
Nu’Rodney Prad, the director of student engagement of the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy and Leadership, said the Student Center is a highly visited public area, which will provide the flag more of a presence on campus.
“It gives the presence of general diversity and social justice mechanisms in a very intersectional manner,” he said. “It’s pretty great to have it installed in the Student Center because it reaches more people and it causes more questions to be asked that will allow people to be educated more.”