I, like many LGBTQ+ Americans, are feeling lately like a small minority of vocal extremists have hijacked the American flag, starting with the most recent former president, who’s now only known to me as the “indicted one." By even using America in his slogan, he slanders the very meaning of the word, since all his thoughts, actions, and love are saved only for himself versus the American value of "others above self.”
And that’s the point. We see many LGBTQ+ people feeling defeated by a very vocal group of extremist elected officials and a conservative media that cater to the mere 37 percent of Americans who believe same-sex marriage is bad for society, according to a recent Pew Foundation study —this mean that nearly two in three Americans believe legal same-sex relationships are good for society. Additionally, the CDC found that 1 in 4 of American high schoolers identify as LGBTQ+. And, this number is growing in the wrong direction for extremists MAGA Republicans hell-bent on capitalizing on the false fear of LGBTQ+ people.
And this brings us back to my plea for the flag. I rally LGBTQ+ Americans to not only take back the Supreme Court and the House of Representatives from a relatively small group of bigots, but to take back the American flag as well. Let’s tell all we stand for a country that is free, equal, and loving. Let’s stand in solidarity with each other by displaying our American flags equal to our Pride banners. I imagine if all displayed the American flag, especially in communities that have a high concentration of LGBTQ+ residents like Wilton Manors and Miami Beach in Florida, Fire Island, Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, Hudson Valley in New York, WeHo and Silver Lake in Los Angeles area, Boy’s Town in Chicago, South Boston and Provincetown in Mass., Dupont Circle in D.C., it would send the strongest of messages. Earlier this year, I urged that Flag Day, June 14, could be our community’s collective #TakeBackOurFlag Day!
By just taking one day to display our American identity, we can take back our flag. Take back our voice; neutralize negative voices who have weaponized the flag and the pride that should be shared by all Americans, not just the straight and cisgender ones.
Michael Kelley is an out and proud American flag-waving gay man, principle co-owner, board member, and President of Growth & Development for equalpride. Kelley is also editor-at-large for The Advocate, one of equalpride's many media brands.