The Pride Flag Flies over the Denver Federal Center
For the second year in a row, the Pride flag again flies over the Denver Federal Center to show support for the LGBTQI+ community. This year it will have a slightly different look to it though.
The Pride flag has morphed over the years to be more inclusive to the community it represents and flying it over the federal facilities is meant to send a message to people both inside and external to the federal government.
"We are working hard to get support and recognition for the LGBTQI+ community here in Region 8, and flying the Intersex-Inclusive Progress Pride flag is a visible reminder that this is a place where the desire is to show respect and inclusivity for everyone," said Laurie Fox, a member of the Region 8 LGBTQIA employee association.
GSA announced back in June 2021 it would grant requests to fly the pride flag at GSA-owned facilities across the United States.
“This historic action underscores GSA’s commitment to inclusion and allyship. GSA affirms that all are welcome at GSA, regardless of how they identify or who they love,” said Katy Kale, the then-acting Administrator.
There are several versions of the Pride flag, all of which may be flown over our federal buildings.
The most widely used version of the Pride flag has six colors - red, orange, yellow, green, indigo and violet - debuted at the Gay Freedom Day Parade held in San Francisco in 1978. The original design, created by Gilbert Baker in 1970, included hot pink and turquoise but those colors were removed due to difficulty in manufacturing and dyeing the fabric. Baker was a friend to Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public office in San Francisco.
Newer iterations of the flag include designations for trans, gender diverse, Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) which was introduced in 2018. The most recent version, created in 2021, is the Intersex-Inclusive Progress Pride Flag that was designed to recognize people who are intersex with a yellow triangle with a purple circle. The purple and yellow are intentionally contrasting to the typically gendered colors of pink and blue.
"Flying the Pride flag in conjunction with the American flag represents our society's desire to celebrate the LGBTQI+ community as an important contributor within our larger culture. I appreciate how GSA's leadership has facilitated this opportunity to demonstrate inclusiveness for federal employees," added Cindy Andersen, a member of the Region 8 LGBTQIA employee association.
The Pride flag’s roots date back to the start of the LGBTQ civil rights movement and the police raid on Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York on June 28, 1969. Stonewall was the catalyst for the modern LGBTQ movement, with fighting lasting several days as Village residents organized into activist groups and demanded the right to live openly regarding their sexual orientation and without fear of being arrested.
To mark the anniversary of that event in 1970, gay pride marches took place in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. From those early marches, Pride has morphed from a week-long celebration to honoring the month June in commemoration of Stonewall.
“Last year I was thrilled that GSA was supportive of my request to have the Pride Flag flown at our Jacob K. Javits Federal Building in New York – the birthplace of the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement where the Stonewall Inn is located and it’s great to see it flying at even more locations this year. That flag remains a beacon of hope for everyone from Pride month festivity participants to immigrants coming to the building for their citizenship hearings, and it makes me very proud to work at GSA,” said Colin Correa, President of the GSA LGBT & Allies Employee Association.
The purpose of flying the Pride flag is not to send a political message, instead it represents hope that we can focus more on contributions rather than on stereotypes.
“Flying a Pride Flag doesn’t immediately change culture in our workplaces or in the communities where people see it, but it does show the government’s commitment to DEIA, including to the LGBTQI+ employees who work in those buildings. I’ve worked in other organizations where requests to fly Pride Flags were outright rejected, and I’m glad to see the government leading through this important visibility that started as a grassroots effort last year within GSA’s employee association,” Amme L. Willis, project manager, added in a GSA blog.
View the video of the flag raising.