Six Colour Flag

Who created the rainbow flag?

In many countries, June is marked as the month of pride celebration. In countries where LGBTQ+ rights are not forbidden, you can see flags displayed on the streets, parliament houses, companies, balconies of houses, etc. They can also be seen in demonstrations, parades, and other events that take place during the whole month. But have you stopped to think by whom and why the rainbow flag was created? I was curious myself, so I thought that it would be interesting to learn together.

Gilbert Baker is the creator of the rainbow flag. Barker was a vexillographer (flag maker), a political activist, a drag queen, and a designer. Besides, he enjoyed watching movies, dancing, loving fashion, and other leisures he practiced with his friend Artie and Cleve.

He was talented in designing banners for anti-war and pro-gay protests; thus, many friends and colleagues including Harvey Milk, who was the first gay politician elected in San Francisco motivated him to create a symbol for the gay community.

Baker knew that the symbol needed to be something new and beautiful. He wanted to strip off the painful stigma that was created by the Nazi in the concentration camp, where gay men were marked out by wearing a pink triangle that was tagged on their clothes.

One night, he was out at Winterland Ballroom dancing with Cleve. Both were moving their hips, snapping their fingers, and dancing to the music. Everything and everyone that surrounded them were flashing, glittering, and colourful. At this point, Baker knew he had the main idea, the rainbow flat emerged. So, on the 25th of June, 1978, Baker raised the flag for the first time at the United Nations Plaza in San Francisco to commemorate Gay Freedom Day Parade.

“We were all in a swirl of colour and light. It was like a rainbow. A Rainbow flag was a conscious choice, natural and necessary. The rainbow came from earliest recorded history as a symbol of hope,” describes Baker on his website.  

The rainbow flag that is raised today has six bans from top to bottom:

Red represents life

Orange stands for healing

Yellow means sunlight

Green nature

Blue meaning serenity

Purple spirit

However, when it was created it had eight colours.  Pink represents sexuality and turquoise magic.

Even though there is a dispute about the right of the rainbow flag from different parts, Baker was clear before he passed away in 2017 that the flag is public and free to use by anyone. It is a gift for everyone since it was created with that purpose.

Today as we raise and see the rainbow flag, let’s have in mind that the LGBTQ+ are part of our community, thus remember that inclusion is our duty. 

References

https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20160615-the-history-of-the-rainbow-flag

https://academic.oup.com/jiplp/article/15/9/727/5917767?login=true

Working Market: An Inequal place for Women

Have you experience inequality in the labour market as a woman?

In some countries, the 1st of May was the celebration of Labor Day. Globally, men and women have different experiences in the labour market. Today, employed women are still under-representation since they receive less pay, some work more hours, few hold key positions, and there is a gap regarding social and retirement benefits.

According to a report from the European Commission gender, the gap in employment between men and women is 11.3%. A total of 66.8% of women is currently in employment, whereas men’s employment rate stands at 78.1%.

A friend, who is a mechanical engineer experienced a gender wage differential. While she was working at a company, a male engineer was hired and received a higher salary even though he had less work than her. I am sure that my friend’s case is something that happens regularly. Have you experienced something similar?

What should be done to stop these disparities? I think we should:

  • Speak out. Don’t stay silent.
  • Report any inequality to your union.
  • Promote re-structuring of labour laws and increase political pressures.

What else will you add to this list?

We need changes!

Photo by Jens Maes on Unsplash

25th of November

Gender-based violence is a pandemic.

Photo: Julie Schroell

Today as we take the streets or social media platforms on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women let our voice be loud saying: this pandemic needs to stop.

I am proud to present this interview to Susanna Viljanmaa produced by PlusCollective. The production team was composed of Gloria De Felice, Susanna Viljanmaa, and Shirlene Green Newball.

Breast Cancer

“My advice to the ladies is to check yourselves, examine yourselves, know your body. If you discover something that is not normal, look for professional help” Aleseter

October is the month of breast cancer awareness. I loss a close friend 9 years ago who I still miss. Thus, I would like you to be aware of this illness that is around us.

For this edition I would like to share the story if my friend Aleseter, who is a strong individual a met years ago while working with a journalism project. She is tall, strong, likes to joke, friendly, a baseball lover, and sincere. We became friends and still maintain our relationship.

Aleseter voice

“ In 2012, I discovered a small lump on my left breast. I am from a  small island which had only a small health center in those days; so, I had to wait for some specialist to arrive. They did an ultrasound on my breast, then recommended a biopsy which I got done in Managua (the capital). The result was negative. I flew back home, but deep in my mind I knew something was wrong. A week later, I did a second biopsy and waited 12 days for the result. It was positive. The third biopsy also was positive. 

The doctor told me, “it’s not good news”. I said to him, “anything can kill me except this cancer, because with the help of God, I will overcome it”. I remember he looked at me and said, “those are the words of a warrior”. 

My cancer was stage 1 when it was discovered. A  surgery was done to remove the malignant cells, and then I started my chemotherapy in May. However, when I was on my third chemo session, they discovered more spots in the same place, so I underwent a second surgery and continued my treatment. It was then December, but things didn’t improve, so in January, I had a mastectomy done. 

At the beginning, I didn’t mention it to my son nor the rest of the family, because we grew up thinking that cancer is a taboo. Nevertheless, I told one of my brothers. He said to me:,”cancer is not your sickness, it’s our sickness; you need the moral support from the family”. 

During my chemo treatment, I heard a lot of comments about what would happen to me, but the reality was another, since everyone has their own experience; what is good for you, can be bad for me. For example, I saw a lot of women vomiting during the treatment, I didn’t. The doctor told me that I will lose my hair. Indeed, 16 days after the treatment, I lost it. My brother helped shave the rest. It was a ball of hair”. 

Photo by Gabriel Aguirre on Unsplash

Mapping abortion: Latin America and Caribbean

Is abortion legal in your country? Tell us.

The 28th of September was the day of decriminalizing abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean. In many countries, activists and feminists once more remembered this day for women’s rights by posting on social media. The green handkerchief symbol of this fight was present.

In countries such as Honduras, Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Suriname, and Dominican Republic, abortion is illegal under any circumstances, according to the Map of Abortion Law from the Centre for Reproductive Rights.

In Republican Dominican, since 1884, the Penal Code bans abortion; thus, the campaign rd3causales, has been promoted by several women organizations, individuals, and others. This campaign was created after maternal death increased to 20.2% in 2020, according to the epistemology department. Sergia Galván, a renowned activist and feminist, expresses to the newspaper El País “it is cruel to obligate a woman who was raped to continue with a pregnancy”.

The #rd3causalesvan campaign on the Caribbean Island demands that abortion be allowed when:

1-The life and health of women or girls are under threat.
2- Pregnancy is unfeasible.
3- The incident is a case of rape or incest.

While in the previous ones it is a crime, in others, abortion is permitted in cases: where a pregnancy puts the woman’s life and health at risk; in case of rape, incest and deformation or unviability of the fetus. The following are among the countries where abortion is allowed for one or more of these reasons are: Belize, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru, Panama, and Venezuela.

Mexico is a case of its own since it operates under a federal system where each state is independent and, therefore, exercises the restrictions according to the laws of the state. However, throughout the country, it is allowed in case of rape or endangerment to the life of the mother.

Last month, a week after the Texas Supreme Court banned abortion in this state, not far from its border, in Coahuila northern state in Mexico abortion lawwas decriminalized. The  11 judges voted unanimously on it. This new law also prevents the persecution of women for getting an abortion.

This new decision can be very important to open the way for other states in Mexico since it is a big country and has many states. So far, in Coahuila, Oaxaca, Hidalgo, Veracruz, and Mexico City, abortion is permitted up to the 12th week of gestation without any explanation.

Many women and organizations that campaigns for abortion rights in Mexico consider this act as a “historical moment”.

In Cuba, Guyana, Argentina, French Guyana, Uruguay, and Puerto Rico, abortion is allowed in the first weeks of gestation and under the term established by law.

Abortion is satanized by many individuals in society; however, my question is to what extent is it reliable to have such laws while many women and girls die because of it?

One of the phrases that was common to read on different platforms on the 28th of September was: We want legal, secure, and free abortion. It is a right.