A Look Into The History Of Pride Month

To celebrate Pride Month, Mercantile Processing Inc. wanted to highlight a unique story that was shared by one of our employees. 

As you likely know, the rainbow flag is an iconic symbol of gay pride, but what you may not know is that the banner we see so often today is slightly different from the original design. 

The six-color rainbow that is prominently hanging from government buildings, businesses, and personal homes across the nation was originally an eight-colored rainbow with each stripe symbolizing the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Originally designed by gay rights activist Gilbert Baker in 1978, the flag included a pink and a turquoise section. These colors were removed due to the cost and availability of dyes and materials to make them, giving us the current six-color version.

Baker was an important figure in the movement for equality and worked with other icons like Harvey Milk over the course of his life. In 2003, he created a 1.25 mile long Rainbow Flag, known as the Sea to Sea Flag, that stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean to commemorate the symbol’s 25th anniversary. This event was held in Key West and was attended by our very own Steven Parrish and his husband. 

Steven was able to get one of the 1100 limited edition (and autographed) eight-color pride flags that Baker had made custom for the event. As you can see in the pictures, they own flag number 469. 

This Pride month, please take the time to not only celebrate the progress that has been made but also take a look back at the people and events that have made it possible. It is also extremely important to realize that members of the LGBTQ+ community face discrimination on a daily basis and the fight for equality is not over. 

To support the community, MPI has donated $250 to The Trevor ProjectFounded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25. LGB youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth and in a national study, 40% of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt. The Trevor Project provides resources for those seeking mental-health assistance as well as offers educational/suicide awareness programs. In addition to the company donation, we are strongly encouraging anyone that is able to donate and/or share this link. Contributions of any amount are greatly appreciated. Happy Pride Month!