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I Had No Idea One Flag Doesn't Represent All Of The LGBT+ Community

27/02/2017 11:19
Kim Rogerson via Getty Images

At 14 I didn't know I had purchased the ''Gay Flag' to decorate my 2D virtual room in the online chat room Habbo Hotel until long after my purchase.

The catalogue description described it as "Every colour for everyone". Cute.

This description appealed to my innate desire for equality but ultimately - the flag was going brighten up my virtual hotel room the most. So I bought it.

Shortly after I learned the rainbow flag was going to prompt some awks conversations from visiting friends:

"why do you have the Gay flag hanging up?

A polite precursor to then ask me if I was gay.

My answer to my friends questions as a young, ill-educated , and burgeoning, yet completely naive, gay man was - that I simply didn't know what it represented at that time.

Even after a decade of being on a mission to educate myself, proudly waving the 'gay' rainbow flag. Indeed sometimes wearing the Pride Flag - as I now call it; I recently found out there is still much to learn.

In taking part in this video to announce the Intersectionality panel for this year's National Student Pride, we were asked to guess what some flags represented in the LGBT+ community.

While it was fun learning about the flags, the experience also taught me A LOT.

For starters who knew there are flags representing 27 Sexual Orientations, 18 Gender Identities and 20 romantic, fetish and political flags.

Some of them made total sense. Others? Well. I'll let you make your mind up.

I learned, and was quite frankly shocked, by how little was known both about the flags themselves, but also by the level of awareness about what each flag represented.

My takeaway was that flags are as different and unique as the people that wave them.

They can be make us visible when we are invisible. They can make us feel recognised when we are dismissed. They can make us feel included when we are isolated. Their colours may not cover everyone, but at least there isn't just one for all.

Find out more about the different flags and there meanings by visiting myumbrella.org.uk

Now excuse me while I go petition Habbo to create a lesbian battle flag. I think we all need one of those in our lives.

National Student Pride's main theme this year is Sex Education, and runs from 24 to 26 of February - get your tickets here.

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