Opinion - The Simple Significance of a Flag

With the July 4 holiday, Americans once again commemorate their feelings of pride and patriotism. Red, white and blue will be everywhere, along with the requisite fireworks displays.

After the Sept. 11 tragedy, a few of us working with the group handling Gay Pride that year, Heartland Pride, created a T-shirt with the American flag and a phrase commonly used in World War II: “These colors don’t run.” Michael Burnes, owner of Missie B’s, himself a proud Vietnam veteran, donated $500 to get our project off the ground. We sold the shirts to raise money in honor of Julie Geis, the president of Women With One Voice, a nonprofit agency benefiting women and children in the Kansas City area. Geis died in the south tower of the World Trade Center. Her friends and family in Nebraska and the Kansas City community bought the shirts through e-mail or at bars and other events, and after selling out we gave a $4,000 check to their Julie Geis scholarship fund. It was a patriotic gesture of how the LGBT community once again, like so many of our neighbors throughout the area, gives back when asked.

The rainbow flag represents the international LGBT community. It’s a universal symbol, whether flying from a flagpole at home or on a car bumper decal. In an ugly July 2006 incident in Meade, Kan., two boys cut down the rainbow flag flying outside the Lakeway Hotel B&B. (Read Bradley Osborn’s story from the September 2006 issue of Camp at: https://kansascity.outvoices.us/2006/08/15/with-the-cunning-use-of-a-flag.) The owners of the B&B were sent this flag from their 12-year-old son, who bought it as a present for his parents after seeing it at a California fair. The parents said they knew of the flag’s significance to the LGBT community, but decided to fly it in the spirit of unity and friendship. Apparently those who tore it down and those who later threw a brick inked with the word “fag” through the B&B’s window felt otherwise.

On June 21, one week after the national Flag Day holiday, the Employee Resource Group (ERG) at Sprint celebrated “Sprint Pride.” (see story on page 10 and photo on page 13.) One of the comments we heard often from those attending was how proud they felt that Sprint was flying a huge rainbow flag for the first time at the entrance to the Sprint campus, directly underneath the Sprint flag. Not only were the LGBT employees honored, but Nicole Kelley, one of the organizers, told me that she had already heard of at least one straight employee who wrote an e-mail to the human resources department commending Sprint for taking that step in honoring diversity.

A friend of mine who works at GE Money told me that his company also had a large rainbow flag prominently displayed in the front lobby during June to commemorate Gay Pride month and to show respect for their LGBT employees. I saw that flag when delivering copies of the recent issue of Camp to the office, and it indeed was in the center of the lobby, not relegated to some corner.

Many years ago when living in San Francisco, I was attending the Gay Pride parade with a Dutch friend of mine who lived in Amsterdam and was working in the United States for a few years. Marius insisted that we follow the parade to City Hall, the end of the route, where the rainbow flag was flown prominently along with the United States and the State of California flags. It meant so much to him to see this display that it brought him to tears. This was more than 15 years ago, but his comments were about how rare it was to see the flag flown in such prominence in the United States or in Europe.

As Brad Osborn said in his Meade, Kan., story, “Flags are powerful things.” Even something as common as the rainbow flag can bring powerful emotions.

WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

SHOREHAM, VT (September 13, 2023) — WhistlePig Whiskey, the leaders in independent craft whiskey, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake are waving the checkered flag on a legend-worthy release that’s taking whiskey to G-Force levels. The Limited Edition PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is a high Rye Whiskey selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, with barrels trialed in their wind tunnel to ensure a thrilling taste in every sip.

The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

Keep readingShow less
by Spectrum Medical Care Center

Nurse Practitioner Ari Kravitz

When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

Keep readingShow less

Descanso Resort swimming pool and lounge area

Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

Keep readingShow less