Gilbert Baker – sometimes referred to as “the Gay Betsy Ross” – is the artist and civil rights activist who designed the Rainbow Flag, a popular symbol of queer pride.

Baker first raised the  Rainbow flag during San Francisco Pride in 1978. The original version had eight colours, each with it

photo by Benson Kua

s own symbolic significance: hot pink to represent sexuality; red to represent life; orange to represent healing; yellow to represent sunlight; green to represent nature; turquoise to represent magic and art; blue to represent harmony; and violet to represent spirit.

The flag as been modified from Baker’s original design several times.  Because of challenges related to mass producing hot-pink and turquoise fabrics, a six colour version of the Rainbow flag is the version most commonly seen today.

Image via: Cleaveland Classic Media

Our regularly scheduled “Quickies” will not be seen, but will return next week at the regularly scheduled time. Please stay tuned for a rant.

My pal Richard posted a link to this article on his Facebook page. Click through if you have the time. If not, here are the nuts and bolts:

Two fifth grade teachers in Altona, Manitoba attended did some training with the Rainbow Resource Centre in Winnipeg. Upon completion, they were given a card with the heading “Ally” and text that included statements about creating safe space for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, Two-Spirit, intersex, queer and questioning individuals, families and communities”. A group of parents objected, demanding the cards be removed. The cards have been modified. But objections continue.

I object to these objections. Vehemently. Because here’s the thing:

Queer people exist.

One parent is quoted as saying, “I would like to have the choice of how I choose to teach my children about these words and what they mean.” I get that. I would like to choose how I teach my child about these words too. Which is why I’ve tried not to shelter my son in a heteronormative bubble. The younger our children, the more influence we have over the information they receive. Teaching children about orientation and gender diversity can begin earlier than a lot of people think. Seriously.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. As parents, we have limited influence over how their children learn. And we ultimately can’t control what they learn. Sooner or later, our kids go out into the wild yonders of the school yard, their friends’ homes, the Internet, the world. Sooner or later, they will learn the truth:

Queer people exist.

They exist! They’re human beings who, like all human beings have a right to live and thrive as fully-sanctioned members of their society. And if you’re not comfortable with that; if you don’t feel prepared to have that talk with your child, I understand you’re in a tough spot. But it’s your tough spot.

It is not incumbent on anyone to go away or lay so low they become virtually invisible to make your life as a parent easier. No horrible fate shall befall us when a teacher utters the word “gay” or “bi” or “trans” . Queer people aren’t Voldemort. They’re people. They’re people in my community and yours. They’re people who are around your child and mine. Like it or not, they may turn out to be your child or mine.

And if that’s the case, we need to thank every god for teachers committed to creating safer, more inclusive spaces for all children. Because the alternative is unbearable.

The chants are not just rumours. They are here. They are queer. It would behoove us all to get used to it.

So if you want to talk to your kid, do it. If you don’t know how, I put a small list of resources at the end of this post. And I’m sure some of my readers have great resources, that I don’t know about. If you do, please post them in the comments! But seriously get to talkin’ to your younguns, ’cause the truth ain’t gonna change:

Queer people exist.

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Resources That Also Exist:

How To Talk With Preschool Age Children (Mental Health America)

How To Talk With School Age Children (Mental Health America)

How To Talk With Teenagers (Mental Health America)

Ask An Ally: How Do I Talk To My Kids About Sexual Orientation (PFLAG)

Talking With Kids And Teens About Transgender Issues (Rainbow Rumpus)