Wednesday December 13, 2017

How did Rainbow Flag attain the Prestige of representing the LGBT Community?

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Gay pride Flag
Rainbow Flag represents LGBT community, VOA
  • Gilbert Baker who is exceptionally multi-talented was commissioned to create a flag by another gay icon, politician Harvey Milk
  • American flag’s constant display of stars and stripes made him realize the cultural need for a similar rallying sign for the gay community
  • The different colors of the rainbow emphasized togetherness

San Francisco, June 3, 2017: Everyone is delighted to see gay pride’s rainbow flags representing LGBT community winding outside of residential areas, hotels, and other public places. Hitching up them to shirts and on the back of hampers is also in trend expressing universal and never-ending love for colors. But have they ever wondered that who created the rainbow flag (also called Gay Flag) and why did it become a symbol of the LGBT community?

Gilbert Baker (also known as Busty Ross)-an exceptionally multi-talented gay activist- was commissioned to create a flag by another gay icon, politician Harvey Milk, for San Francisco’s auspicious annual pride parade. This Vietnam War veteran and then drag-performer designed the rainbow flag in 1978.

During in an interview in 2015, Baker told the Museum of Modern Art that American flag’s constant display of stars and stripes made him realize the cultural need for a similar rallying sign for the gay community. Besides being a struggling drag performer who was accustomed to create his own garments, he was well-equipped to sew the soon-to-be iconic symbol. As the idea of a flag to represent the gay and lesbian community was already hovering over his mind, the decision to enlist Baker proved fortuitous.

At that time, Nazis used betoken of a pink triangle to symbolize the homosexual group and thus, it metamorphosed into an image for the burgeoning gay rights movement. Baker rejected the use of widely accepted symbol because that symbol represented a dark and painful past. He instead opted to use a rainbow as his inspiration.

Choice of colors behind LGBT Flag: The different colors of the rainbow emphasized togetherness. Since LGBT people come in all races, ages and genders, and the rainbow is the agglomeration of all the colors as well as an indicator of both natural and beautiful. The original flag featured eight colors, each having a different meaning. At the top was hot pink, which represented sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow signifying sunlight, green for nature, turquoise to represent art, indigo for harmony, and finally violet at the bottom for the spirit.

Baker was able to construct the first draft of the now world-renowned rainbow flag, with the help of approximately 30 volunteers working in the heart of the Gay Community Center in San Francisco. It was first showcased at San Francisco’s Gay Freedom Day Parade on June 25, 1978.

After the design was unveiled, it imparted a sense of pride among the participants of the parade. In the Paramount Flag Company, the flag was sold in the new altered version where blue replaced hot pink and turquoise for practicality purposes. The assassination of Harvey Milk augmented the rainbow banner only increased. Popularity was hiked again a decade later when a West Hollywood resident sued his landlord over the right to hang his flag outside his residence.

In the years since the rainbow flag has never seen back in popularity. It is unfurled around the globe as a positive representation of the LGBT community. A mile-long version of the flag was created to celebrate the 25th anniversaries of two landmark events; the Stonewall Riots and Baker’s creation of the flag itself.

At the age of 65, Baker died on March 31, 2017, just two years after the legalization of same-sex marriage throughout the U.S. His legacy now remains immortal on in the six-colored flag that flies proudly every Gay Pride month, recognizing the lives and love of LGBT people worldwide.

– by Himanshi Goyal of Newsgram. Twitter: @himanshi1104

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UN Expert Vitit Muntarbhorn Warns Against LGBTQ Rights Violations

"More than 70 countries around the world today still criminalise same-sex relations, and in some of them the death penalty may be applied," believes Vitit Muntarbhorn, the UN' first independent expert on the rights of LGBT

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LGBTQ
A protester to support all students sign from National Center for transgender equality, Source : Wikimedia

United Nations, October 28, 2017 : Immediate action is needed to stop human rights violations based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, a UN human rights expert has said.

“It is unconscionable that people with an actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression different from a particular social norm are targeted for violence and discrimination in many parts of the world,” said Vitit Muntarbhorn, the UN’ first independent expert on the rights of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people.

“LGBT people are suffering a crucible of egregious violations, including killings, rape, mutilation, torture, arbitrary detention, abduction, harassment, physical and mental assaults.

“They are subjected to lashings and forced surgical interventions, bullying from a young age, incitement to hatred and pressures leading to suicide,” he told the UN General Assembly on Friday.

“More than 70 countries around the world today still criminalise same-sex relations, and in some of them the death penalty may be applied,” Xinhua quoted Muntarbhorn as saying.

Even where there is no law criminalising consensual same-sex relations, laws on public decency, public order and social peace are used to incriminate people under the umbrella of sexual orientation, gender identity and related gender expression, he noted.

Muntarbhorn who is from Thailand said all laws criminalising same-sex relationships should be removed from the statute books, and no other legal measures should be used to target sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression for the purpose of consolidating power and suppressing dissent.

It was also imperative to remove the death penalty for all cases related to the criminalization of sexual orientation, gender identity and related gender expression, he stressed.

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“There is a need for effective anti-discrimination measures covering both the public and private spheres. Not only formal but substantive, not only de jure but also de facto, in addition to the building of a community open to understanding and respecting sexual and gender diversity,” said the expert.

To be effective, anti-discrimination frameworks should provide for effective measures to investigate alleged violations, redress for victims and accountability for alleged perpetrators, he said.

Muntarbhorn also expressed concern that human rights defenders were being increasingly targeted for their work in raising issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. (IANS)

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Nepal’s Gay Pride Parade to Correspond with Hindu Festival Gai Jatra

The gay pride march is timed to correspond with the Hindu festival of Gai Jatra

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Gay pride parade
Gay Pride Procession. Pixabay
  • Around 1,500 people took part in the parade, paying tribute to members of LGBTI community who had died in 2017
  • Last month a transgender woman and her husband were issued a marriage certificate by a district office, a first in Nepal
  • Country’s laws are silent on same-sex or transgender marriages and the legality of the union is unclear

Kathmandu, Aug 09, 2017:  In an annual gay pride parade, members of Nepal’s gay community marched through Kathmandu Tuesday in masses wearing vibrant costumes and carrying rainbow flags and balloons.

The gay pride march is timed to correspond with the Hindu festival of Gai Jatra, which brings crowds onto the streets to pay tributes to those who have died in the past year.

Formerly, when Nepal was under royal rule, Gai Jatra was also a chance for people to criticize the government. It was an event where people were seen in colorful costumes satirizing politicians.

With context to Hinduism, the whole complex of Gai Jatra festival has its roots in the biblical age when people feared and worshiped Yamaraj, the god of death.

During the festival of Gaijatra, the cow parade was brought before the grief-stricken ruler. Then the participants began ridiculing and be-fooling the influential people of the society.

In recent years, the gay community has started following the festival to underscore its demands for equal rights.

More than 1,500 people who took part in the parade, to pay tribute to members of LGBTI community had died in 2017, including American artist Gilbert Baker who designed the rainbow flag that has become an emblem of the gay community.

ALSO READ: Gaydio-India’s First LGBTQ Radio Show will help People understand Gender and Sexuality in a better manner 

“Every year we celebrate a pride festival to show that we want to be recognized in this society with our different identity, that we are a part of this society,” said Pinky Gurung, president of the Blue Diamond Society, a gay rights organization in Nepal, reports Deccan Chronicle.

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Nepal has some of South Asia’s most liberal laws on homosexuality and transgender rights, nonetheless, members of the community continue to face discrimination and live in the shadows of society, say activists.

According to a report in Deccan Chronicle, Kirti Gurung, a 21-year-old transgender woman said, “The government has recognized us but should do more. People of the third gender like us should be able to come out in the open, society should accept us.”

Last month a transgender woman and her husband were issued a marriage certificate by a district office which is the first occurrence of its kind in Nepal.

However, the country’s laws are still silent on same-sex or transgender marriages and the legality of the union is ambiguous.


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Justin Trudeau’s Government Selects Indo-Canadian Rana Sarkar as Consul-General to San Francisco

The Indo Canadian is also a member of the team that is negotiating NAFTA

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Indo-Canadian
Rana Sarkar. Wikimedia

August 05, 2017: Rana Sarkar, an Indo-Canadian who was until recently national director for high growth markets at the Toronto-based multi-national KPMG, has been named by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government as Canadas Consul-General to San Francisco.

Simultaneously, Sarkar has also been named a member of the high-profile Canadian official team for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the US and Mexico.

The Indo-Canadian community is elated over this very high profile appointment:

“Rana Sarkar (previously President of Canada-India Business Council) brings an impressive array of skills to his new position as Consul General in San Francisco,” says Kasi Rao, currently President of Canada-India Business Council and Vice-President of Asia-Pacific Foundation. “First, Rana is a global Canadian and has operated in multiple geographies – Canada, UK, and India. Second, he has brought individual networks and made them into institutional ones.

ALSO READ: Multiple Gender Identity Debate: Canada Passes Bill C-16

“Rana has maintained an abiding interest in the ideas and innovation space and therefore will be adept at positioning the Canadian advantage in a critically important global city of San Francisco.”

Gary Comerford, who till recently was President of C-IBC, says in an interview that Sarkar “will be a very strong addition to the Canadian-US trade team. His knowledge and considerable expertise in the areas of international trade will be invaluable as the NAFTA agreement is modernized.”

Sarkar was also a Liberal Party candidate for the federal riding of Don Valley North (in Toronto) in 2014 but was not successful and he later became a member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s team of advisers.

Sarkar was earlier visiting lecturer at the London School of Economics and Political Science and more recently Senior Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto.

Appointment of Sarkar in this high profile position is amongst a series of appointments of Indo-Canadians made by the Justin Trudeau government. They include four Indo-Canadian federal ministers: Amarjeet Sohi (Minister for Infrastructure and Communities); Bardish Chagger (Minister for Small Business and Tourism and House Leader); Harjit Singh Sajjan (Minister for National Defense); and Navdeep Bains (Minister for Innovation, Science and Economic Development).

More recently Trudeau named Anil Arora as Canada’s Chief Statistician. Two other high profile appointments include Sabi Marwah and Ratna Omidvar as Senators. There are 19 Indo-Canadian Members of the House of Commons, 18 of whom are Liberals. (IANS)