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The LGBTQIA+ community is nothing without inclusion, and Converse is recognizing that fact by adopting a powerful update to the rainbow flag in its Pride shoe line. For years, Converse has released much-anticipated Pride shoes each year to celebrate the queer community. For Converse’s 2020 Pride collection, the brand’s shoes feature an updated version of the rainbow flag, featuring a black and a brown stripe. The additional stripes are meant to represent people of color in the LGBTQIA+ community and highlight the value of racial diversity.
The flag was created by social justice advocate and ACLU Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer Amber Hikes in 2017. Dubbed the More Color, More Pride flag, the addition of black and brown stripes were meant to encourage conversation around the power of racial diversity and inclusion.
“I am just deeply committed to and connected to the liberation of everyone,” Hikes tells Converse. “I feel like we can all get free.”
Converse’s shift to the More Color, More Pride flag was done before the denouncement of police violence around the country and the recent protests supporting Black lives. In any case, the two additional stripes are an important reminder of the unique challenges queer people of color face.
Trans people of color, particularly Black transgender women, are assaulted and murdered at alarming rates each year. According to the Human Rights Campaign, Black queer men are the group most heavily affected by HIV infections. Black queer people have higher rates of economic insecurity than non-Black queer people, though the whole community has exceptionally high rates of poverty. And there’s still undeniable racism in the LGBTQIA+ community toward queer people of color.
But queer people of color have also played a major role in the LGBTQIA+ community’s progress. Leaders like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are credited with leading the modern LGBTQIA+ rights movement. Drag culture, a pillar of LGBTQIA+ joy and celebration, is largely credited to the Black community and ball culture. In fact, much of the defining language and rich culture we associate with LGBTQIA+ life has roots in Black queer communities, particularly with Black femmes.
It may seem simple to add a black and a brown stripe, but a shift in the flag recognizes the struggle, joy and contributions of LGBTQIA+people of color. And we could all use a little more of that recognition.
You can customize your own Pride shoes or choose from professional designs already on the Converse site. Check out some of the designs below to celebrate Pride — and queer people of color.
Shop: Pride Chuck 70, $85
Shop: Pride Chuck Taylor All Star, $65
Shop: Striped Pride Chuck 70, $105
Shop: Black Pride Chuck 70, $105
Shop: Sequin Pride Chuck 70, $90
Shop: Converse Pride Tank, $25
Shop: Converse Pride Bucket Hat, $35
Shop: Converse Pride Tee, $30
If you enjoyed this story, you might like to check out how to celebrate Pride all month long.
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