Older LGBT People’s Health Inequalities
On 4 December 2020, NHS England’s LGBT Health Team organised a virtual roundtable to discuss the issues affecting older LGBT people, including the current impacts of COVID-19.
The presentations included Terri from Age UK Manchester on the lived experiences of older LGBT people and Pauline from Out In The City which you can download here:
22 Years of the Bisexual Flag
The bisexual flag turned 22 years old on 5 December 2020.
The pink, purple and blue colours that have come to represent the bi community in their stripes were not new back in 1998, but refashioning them into a very simple flag was a bright idea from Michael Page of online chat forum BiCafe (a website which ran for fifteen years until 2012 – sadly gone).
He took the pink, purple and blue that were being used as a bi symbol through a set of overlapping triangles – a pink and a blue triangle overlapping and creating a purple triangle as their intersection. In Germany the same colours were being used in a pattern of crescent moons due to historic associations between the triangle and the Nazi regime making them less socially acceptable a choice of emblem.
The USA-based BiCafe website was launched in 1997 and the flag was launched at its first birthday celebrations, on 5 December 1998.
In correspondence with a writer for the flagspot website Michael explained, “The pink colour represents sexual attraction to the same sex only (gay and lesbian), the blue represents sexual attraction to the opposite sex only (straight) and the resultant overlap colour purple represents sexual attraction to both sexes (bi).”
The “correct” bi flag design is made up of three distinct colour blocks, but sometimes people use a wash of colours from pink to blue via purple. That’s pretty well in keeping with his original concept, as Michael explained: “The key to understanding the symbolism of the Bisexual pride flag is to know that the purple pixels of colour blend unnoticeably into both the pink and blue, just as in the ‘real world,’ where bi people blend unnoticeably into both the gay/lesbian and straight communities”
Wouldn’t the rainbow flag do the job? On the (now closed) website BiFlag.com, Michael wrote that “the vast majority of bi people I have spoken with, feel no connection to the rainbow flag, the pink triangle, the black triangle, the Lambda symbol or the double-edged hatchet. These symbols are viewed as gay and lesbian icons, which was their initial intent.”
It slowly spread as an image around the bi world, including appearing on the back of the programme booklet for the UK and International BiCon in 2000.
Despite this, in the late 1990s and 2000s it was still fairly unknown as a symbol in the wider LGBT scene, not least because in the days when colour printing was so much harder to afford, promotional materials for bi groups and bi projects tended to be in black and white.
But the wave of non-geographic bisexual community that growing internet access brought, and the way pixels cost the same whatever shade they are, helped transform that. Today there are a plethora of web graphics using the three colours, as well as lots of bi-coloured accessories to subtly communicate your bi-ness to others. It even lets us question bi-coloured things in popular culture to ask whether we should co-opt them as bi, such as the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic character Twilight Sparkle.
The flag itself – now easily obtainable online for a few pounds as a small hand-held flag-on-a-stick or as a five foot long fabric sheet – makes a simple and popular cape to wear at LGBT pride events, turning the usual problem of bisexual invisibility on its head by literally wrapping yourself in the flag.
Over the past 22 years it has flown from town halls worldwide and given us a code by which to know one another and so helped end bisexual invisibility – including the sometimes controversial trend of “bisexual lighting” to hint at TV characters’ sexual orientations.
Last spring it was at the centre of internet controversy over its ownership, which ultimately reaffirmed its place as a freely usable symbol for us all.
So all of our thanks to Michael, and happy birthday the pink, purple and blue flag (and remember, you can’t have a birthday without a bi).
Rainbow Laces Day
Rainbow Laces Day will be celebrated on Wednesday, 9 December 2020.
The organisation Stonewall will be sharing stories and considering how we can all play our part in making sport everyone’s game.
Join the #RainbowLaces movement today:
- Sign up to find out more about how you can play your part;
- Use Stonewall’s top tips for making your sport community more LGBT inclusive; and
- Read on to meet Stonewall’s Sport Champions, read LGBT people’s stories and buy your Rainbow Laces.
Football has the power to bring us together.
Clubs and communities are stronger when everyone feels welcome, and it’s down to all of us to make that happen.
That’s why the Premier League proudly stand alongside Stonewall in promoting equality and diversity.
The Premier League will ensure everyone within the organisation and all those connected to clubs, including supporters, feel safe and welcome, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity.
A key focus of the partnership with Stonewall will be encouraging LGBT+ acceptance among children and young people involved in community and education initiatives such as Premier League Primary Stars and Premier League Kicks, and within Academies.
Coaches, teachers and leaders will be equipped with bespoke resources and programmes developed by the League and Stonewall which promote positive attitudes towards the LGBT+ community.
Football clubs will also come together between 4 – 13 December to celebrate the latest Rainbow Laces campaign and show support for all LGBT people in football and beyond.
At all Premier League fixtures across the two Match weeks, there will be Rainbow Laces ball plinths, handshake boards and substitutes boards as well as the LED perimeter boards at the stadiums highlighting the campaign.
There will also be rainbow armbands for captains, rainbow laces and pin badges to let everyone show their support.
Digital channels will feature a rainbow Premier League logo and promote the campaign as well as the LGBT+ inclusion work of Premier League clubs.