Living in a small town in Nebraska is a pleasant experience. The people here are basically friendly, kind and well-meaning. The simplicity and earthiness of this part of the world is mostly agreeable, so I have remained as a resident.
There are some aspects of large cities that I do miss that aren’t found out here, in the boondocks, though. Most of these are cultural in nature. The atmosphere is improving in that regard.
There are more people from various ethnic groups who now call Norfolk home. There is a scattering of Asians, Pacific Islanders, African Americans and Hispanics. There is even a Cinco de Mayo celebration in town each year.
The various cities and countries I’ve visited have been a visual and cultural potpourri. Most of the symbols and vast diversity of humanity is simply unheard of in this area.
Practically everywhere I’ve visited, I’ve seen at least one rainbow flag on display. Most large cities have hundreds scattered around the town or in special neighborhoods.
I have never seen even one in Norfolk. Certainly none on a lightpole or in a shop window. This came to mind today when I glanced over my calendar of events for today and spotted the anniversary of the first display of the first rainbow flag. It had its debut on this day in 1978 during San Francisco Pride.
The banner is a beautiful, simple rectangle of fabric, most commonly depicted with six horizontal stripes of brilliant color. If you picture a natural rainbow in the sky, that is the configuration of colors in the rainbow flag.
At the top is red, it’s followed by orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. The idea of the rainbow is two-fold, the various colors represent the diversity of the LGBT community. Also, each color was originally designated a meaning. Red is life; orange is healing; yellow is sunshine, green equals nature; indigo stands for serenity and harmony; while violet is spirit.
The original was designed, hand colored and assembled by Gilbert Baker. The first edition flag was actually eight stripes. Hot pink for sexuality was at the top, turquoise for art and magic followed green. Pink and turquoise were eliminated because of the lack of easy availability of those colors for the mass manufacturing process.
Following its debut, the flag became an instant, worldwide success. There are variants of the rainbow flag used in several nations. LGBT people and straight allies are known to display rainbow flags at their homes. Sometimes bumper sticker depictions are found on vehicles as a symbol of support for equality.
In South Africa, the government officially adopted the LGBT flag of South Africa. The intent is to honor each and every citizen of South Africa.
Who knows? Some day I might spot at least one rainbow flag somewhere in Northeast Nebraska.
The Blue Jay of Happiness is an ally for acceptance and inclusiveness for everybody.