40-year-old flag in a country with a 14-year-old flag

It’s a cliche, but I have to start with a taxi anecdote. On May 10, I was curled up in a backseat of a taxi, when the driver pointed at a women’s shop window and said that they’d put those umbrellas in there too. When I asked him to specify, he replied that he meant LGBT umbrellas. I looked and saw umbrellas in rainbow colors. I thought of two things simultaneously: firstly, that it was a marketing move on the shop’s part to put those umbrellas up, and secondly, that I wished the driver didn’t start badmouthing the LGBT community, because then I would have no choice but to conform or to confront. Life isn’t supposed to be this binary, it’s meant to be a lot more colorful, like the rainbow.

Here, I made myself laugh and told the driver, that maybe it wasn’t a rainbow but the off-signal on old TV sets. Life is a lot more colorful indeed – while we try to learn the term LGBT, the abbreviation gains more and more letters at the end (like Q and I). I’m not sure how sexy or romantic is it to name every sexual identity in the book, but, like everything else in this world, this too was a romantic story once. The once subcultural flag was made possible via a struggle, and now it’s just as much of a part of the pop-culture as Chinese trinkets with marijuana leaves, Che Guevara t-shirts or Bob Marley lighters.

Rainbow flag – a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) pride. source

This is no surprise. The flag is 40 years old and in that way, it is way more traditional than the national flag of Georgia. We owe its creation to Harvey Milk (as popularized by Sean Penn): he offered Gilbert Baker, an openly gay artist, to come up with a symbol for the gay movement. This is how the rainbow flag was first flown on June 25 1978, during San-Francisco gay pride.

Left: Harvey Milk; right: Sean Penn. source

Legend has it, that Baker was inspired by one of the first gay culture icons, Judy Garland’s song Somewhere over the rainbow, or, more likely, the horizontal, five-stripe flag used by hippies in colleges in the 60ies to signify world peace. At first, Baker’s flag had 8 colors, with each color carrying a meaning (pink was for sex, red was for life); it was down to 7 when Baker couldn’t find a suitable pink fabric, and eventually it was down to 6. Nowadays, this color combination is so popular, that even cab drivers in Tbilisi traffic jams can’t miss them from their windows.

Gay Pride in San Francisco, 1978. source

Like many other symbols that migrated from the underground to the mainstream, the flag has since washed out as the LGBT movement lost its charm, like the hippies turning into the bourgeoisie. Especially, in a gluten-free, politically correct free world that we live in, expecting every next James Bond to be gay and every next president of America to be a woman (and the next one – gay), the order of things disrupted by Trump becoming president, or Madonna, a self-proclaimed feminist, promising America oral sex if Hillary Clinton wins. In this world, journalism has turned into a bunch of bleak euphemisms and the moral police forces you to conform – if you don’t agree with Brexit being end of the civilized world you’re a dirty nationalist, if you’re not all for gay marriage you’re a raging homophobe, and if you don’t change your profile picture for Baghdad (and do for Paris) you’re a two-faced snob. But the world is so much more vibrant than that…

In our small, limited world, where we’re just about to finally learn what LGBT means while our national flag is 14 years old, a whole new, confused version of the moral police has emerged. A good, light example would be, that our self-appointed knight is a blatant homophobe, while in 1998, the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, knighted one of the most successful musicians and the most famous gay parents, Elton John.

Not sure if it’s an accident or not, but on May 17 of 2013, I was in the UK, the country that manages to uniquely combine the new with the traditional.

May 17, 2013. source

I mean the May 17, when the day of fighting against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia became the day of fighting against the gays, the trans and the bi. Drunk on the sweetness of the first world, I distanced myself from home with mixed emotions as I watched my friend running from the famous chair-wielding priest while sat at Starbucks, discussing the beauties of capitalism with a black right-winger over a second Americano.

However, it wasn’t as easy to distance myself from this homophobic nightmare after all, since I was in the UK to participate in a science forum organized by one of the university’s research faculties – the Research Center of Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, the very research centre interested in Post-Soviet and Post-Socialist countries, new democracies and countries in transition – in short, all the horrors that make Georgia attractive to modern social sciences (and where the money is made, I guess).

In the duration of the forum, many awe-inspiring halls and conference rooms of university buildings were filled with people of many colors and creeds, united by Post-Socialist traumas and sadnesses, as well as the curious, trauma-free people interested in Central and Eastern Europe, the ever-suffering region of our planet.

Studies conducted in all Post-Soviet countries have one thing in common.  I have felt this in and outside of Georgia, during presentations about Georgian population’s public opinion. Usually, these studies reveal something drastic in terms of democracy – that more Georgians identify themselves as true Orthodox Christians than Georgian citizens, or that most of them would prefer their neighbours to be criminal than gay. While presenting these results, the presenters, as well as their audiences, turn obliviously vain (as they, of course, are exceptions to the majority); things get even more absurd if foreigners are involved – they hear explanations about how far behind we are as a country, yet how forward and progressive we are personally.

It would make sense for me to choose to devote my part of the presentation (about Georgian students and religion) to the events of May 17 that happened 2 days prior, but I took mercy on my own intellectual resources, as well as my audience’s. Instead, I showed them a picture of Bidzina Ivanishvili standing in front of a Christmas tree decorated with religious icons, and slides that said no respondents of a country-wide survey saw The Patriarch’s actions as negative, and that the absolute majority was all for joining Nato and the European Union at the same time. Unfortunately, this was enough for the abovementioned vanity to kick in. Once I realized this, I became embarrassed and tried to depreciate myself. When I was asked when had Georgia become a Christian country, I said B.C., and killed myself laughing. Although, when I retold the joke to my father, he said it was an old one about Armenians.

When I returned home, I remember Lado Burduli’s comment about the events of May 17. He wanted to know how many well-known gay people went out on that day. We couldn’t think of any, and he said that everyone should have to fight their own battles. I think he mentioned Harvey Milk as well, and I couldn’t disagree completely.

But some things do change for better, for tolerance. For example, my cab driver didn’t start badmouthing the LGBT community, he even seemed kind-hearted.

Life is indeed vibrant, and so is sex. According to Freud, only sexlessness is a deviance, everything else is a matter of personal preference. I don’t know much about the letters in the abbreviation, but like Woody Allen said, bisexuality only doubles your chances on a Saturday night.

I hope that when our national flag achieves its late teenage years, the right to vibrancy granted by the law is gonna be just as practicable as it is natural.

30,774 Comments
  1. Мы заказали 3Д печать в этой компании https://3d-pechat-perm.ru/
    Очень доволен результатом работы. Приятная стоимость и отличное качество. Всем советую их услуги!

  2. Better to remain silent and be thought a fool that to speak and remove all doubt.
    https://vasilko327.com
    Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
    Don’t teach your Grandma to suck eggs Link to proverb.
    Judge not, that ye be not judged.
    Hope springs eternal.
    Bad news travels fast Link to proverb.
    Rain before seven, fine before eleven.

  3. Автосалон Барнаул авто осуществляет выкуп авто новоалтайск по цене близко к рыночной, выезд и осмотр за 30 мин. Выкуп отечественных и импортных автомобилей в Барнауле дорого, оплата наличными.

  4. Моя жена заказала 3D-печать в студии http://www.3d-pechat-perm.ru/
    Очень доволен результатом работы. Приятная цена и высокое качество. Всем рекомендую их услуги!

  5. Мой муж заказал 3D-печать и 3D-сканирование в этой компании http://3d-pechat-perm.ru
    Полностью удовлетворен результатом работы. Дешево и высокое качество. Всем рекомендую их услуги.

  6. For the treatment of patients with adrenal insufficiency, hypothyroidism and hypopituitarism. When a patient has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, synthroid is usually prescribed to help manage this condition. When the patient is using synthroid, there are some side effects that can be expected along with the benefits.
    where buy synthroid

  7. Paxil, recognized by the name of Paroxetine or Aropax, may be a medication that belongs within the serotonin reuptake inhibitors category of medication. It acts by balancing the chemicals within the human brain, preventing and serving to take away such conditions as depression and anxiety. Paxil is found beneath the shape of tablets or suspension.
    where can i buy paxil

  8. Моя жена заказала 3D-печать в студии https://3d-pechat-ekaterinburg.ru
    Полностью удовлетворен результатом работы. Низкая цена и высокое качество. Всем рекомендую их услуги!

  9. Агенство недвижимости Высота проводит выкуп в частном доме по цене близко к рыночной за 1-3 дня. Выкуп квартир, комнат, студий, домов, коммерческой недвижимости осуществляется за собственные средства в Новосибирске и пригороде.

  10. It’s very trouble-free to find out any topic
    on net as compared to books, as I found this paragraph at this website.

  11. Мы заказали 3D печать в студии http://3d-pechat-ekaterinburg.ru
    Очень доволен результатом работы. Приятная стоимость и отличное качество. Всем рекомендую их услуги.

  12. Levaquin is an antibiotic medication that may be used to treat a range of bacterial infections. It may be used alone or in combination with other medicines to treat acute bronchitis, acute sinusitis, Clostridium difficile infection (CDI or “explosive” diarrhea), Community-Acquired Pneumonia (COP), skin and skin structure infections caused by bacteria, complicated intra-abdominal infections, acne, community-acquired infections.
    can i order levaquin

  13. Ищете где в Киеве недорого заменить масло или сделать диагностику авто? СТО “Oil Change” предоставляет все необходимые услуги по обслуживанию автомобиля!

    замена масла

  14. Paxil can be a drug that belongs to the serotonin reuptake inhibitors category of medication. It is found under the form of tablets or suspension. It acts by balancing the chemicals within the human brain, preventing and helping with treating such conditions as anxiety or obsessive-compulsive behavior.
    paxil

  15. Pretty part of content. I simply stumbled upon your weblog
    and in accession capital go to the website
    assert that I get in fact enjoyed account your blog posts.
    Any way I’ll be subscribing in your feeds or even I
    fulfillment you access consistently rapidly.

  16. University of Muhammadiyah Prof. DR. HAMKA (referred to as UHAMKA) is one of the private universities owned by Muhammadiyah located in Jakarta. As one of Muhammadiyah’s movements in education, UHAMKA is an Islamic university that implements the Al-Quran, As-Sunnah, Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution. UHAMKA also carries out the catur dharma Muhammadiyah universities involving obligations in education, research, community service, and Al Islam and Ke-Muhammadiyahan

  17. That’s why aphorisms, adages, and proverbs are synonyms for each other.
    https://strekatilo294.com
    We see this in literature all the time.
    Another aphorism that’s adapted is, Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
    It’s become one of the most viral memes on the internet.
    Let me ask you.
    He’s earned that title because he’s authored dozens of aphorisms.
    It originated from Lady Mary Montgomerie Currie’s poem Tout vient a qui sait attendre.
    And get this.
    They’re inspirational quotes.
    Both sayings highlight the benefits of waking up early.
    It reminds us to take precautionary measures, so we don’t end up with bad results.
    Check it out.
    Napoleon Bonaparte could relate.
    Want a few more.
    The Purpose & Function of Aphorism
    Their direct, witty approach is what makes these self-evident truths powerful.

  18. Компания Новое жилье проводит выкуп коммерческой недвижимости по выгодной цене (как правило близко к рыночной). Срочный выкуп квартир, домов, комнат, коммерческой недвижимости в Новосибирске за собственные средства. Помогаем избавиться от долгов, снять обременение, мат капитал. Деньги в день сделки.

  19. Реализация строительных материалов в Москве,
    Московской области и ближайших регионах.
    Одно из основных направлений – реализация
    блоков из газобетона различных брендов

    Газобетон Поритеп Коломна

    газосиликатные блоки
    https://gazobeton-moskva.ru/

  20. The basic strategy of poker involves players estimating the relative strength of the hands they’ve been dealt and then wagering chips accordingly. If one or more players is willing to match the highest bet, the remaining players show their cards and the best hand wins the pot. If a player does not ‘like’ their cards, they can fold. The player with the best hand can lose if somebody else bets an amount that no other player is willing to match and everybody folds. This tactic is called bluffing. You can play Bitcoin poker games on any online poker site that has it as a deposit and withdrawal option. A few good examples are Black Chip Poker, Bodog, GSGPoker, Tiger Gaming, SwC Poker, and Blockchain Poker. In 2022, we are starting to see more and more dedicated Bitcoin poker sites. There are guaranteed prizepool tournaments, all offering Bitcoins, and welcome bonuses in BTC just like USD sites. These let you play games at all stake levels but always in Bitcoin only. Remember, when you cash out, your Bitcoins might be worth less or more than when you deposited them on the site. https://spiritofdiscernment.com/community/profile/apfandrew617814/ The free no deposit casino bonus, as the term suggests, is available for free, literally; you do not have to make a deposit to avail this bonus. There are different types of no deposit bonuses, the common thread being the fact that it is available even before you deposit funds into your account. On this page we take a look at the no deposit bonuses available for South African players. The most common types of no deposit deals that you can claim at Canadian online casinos are free credits and free spins. If you love slot machines, then free spins Canada are an ideal option for you. And if you are looking to play other types of games like live dealers, scratch cards, table games, and video poker games, free credits are the best option for you. Always remember to read the terms and conditions before accepting any no deposit bonus in Canada.