Progress: A Pride Flag for Today

Portland Local Daniel Quasar Updates Iconic Rainbow Flag

by Sebastian Fortino
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At PQ we believe, "Every Color. Every Letter. Everywhere," and a new version of the Pride flag celebrates our motto perfecty. Remember, just because we had our Pride in Portland this weekend doesn’t mean we’re through celebrating! It's Pride for the rest of June. Portland resident Daniel Quasar, is a multimedia and digital artist responsible for changing up the famed Rainbow Pride flag. It’s been a symbol of love and protest for the queer community for forty years. However, as the times of changed, so has our community.

Quasar recently released a modified version of the flag, which eh calls the Progress Flag. A series of chevrons now count queer people of color and transgender people. The addition of the black and brown stripes have been included before: they were added in a 2017 version of the flag made for Philadelphia’s City Hall. The intention was to include people of color. Quasar took the time to speak with PQ about his decision to add to the traditional design.

ProudQueer: The traditional Rainbow flag has been a part of the LGBT landscape for well over forty years. What drew you to doing a new version for 2018?
Daniel Quasar:
I was seeing the adjustments being made around the country in the last couple years, from Philly's flag last year to Seattle's flag this year. They came with wonderful messages and I wanted to see if I could redesign the flag to bring more emphasis to those messages. Obviously, whether a design is good or not is subjective but my intention was to bring more design into what was already being done.


PQ:  Stonewall's 50th anniversary takes place next year. Did you think, in addition to your above statements, it was an ideal time to rebrand the flag?
To be honest, I had not remembered that next year was the 50th anniversary and so it had no real barring on the timing of my redesign. I simply thought of it from the perspective of "it's Pride season, this is a good time."


PQ: What has been the reaction among the community?
The response has been overwhelming and all over the spectrum of feelings. There is a majority of positive response that I see reflected in the likes, comments, discussions, and the support of the Kickstarter campaign. As always, there are negative responses too, and they can be quite vocal sometimes, but you have to just focus on the positive and not get lost in it all. Overall, the reaction has been good and that is all I could ever hope for with this.


PQ: When did you officially reveal the new flag?
: I posted the flag to my personal Facebook, both as a post and my cover photo, on June 5th.


PQ: The intersection of the other flags as a chevron was a pretty clever adaption. How did you come up with the design?
The process I went through is what most artists and designers go through, just moving pieces around and seeing what looks best. For this piece I had the extra stripes from the trans flag and marginalized communities, and I just spent a good amount of time just moving it to different places on top of the Pride flag until something started to feel right. At one point I remembered that flags often have chevrons on them and so I moved the stripes into that formation. It stuck.


PQ: Portland had a long history of not being the most integrated city. It's really tried to change that image over the past few decades. Do you think its being created in Portland carries on that tradition of further integration of disenfranchised groups?
I would say yes. If someone feels that way by seeing my design, then that is a valid response. Art and Design says different things to each viewer. It's interesting the messages people read out of these creations.


PQ: We still have people who argue it should be the umbrella term GAY or the umbrella term QUEER. What do you have to say to that idea?
I think everyone who has an opinion is valid, and I don't really have much to add besides saying that people should be able to identify however they want.


PQ: Have you gotten a copyright for the flag, or is this sort of a gift to the LGBTQ+ community?
As copyright law works, I have copyright just by the nature of having created it. The original flag is in public domain and this is considered a derivative of that piece. Yes, I have applied for copyright but only to protect it from being stolen and used against its original intention. I plan on finding an appropriate copyright and licensing that will allow people to freely use the design that is fair for them as well as myself but I'm still exploring what that means and looks like. I haven't decided whether or not I go with something like Creative Commons or something else. This is all new for me so I want to make sure I do it right.


PQ: Anything else you'd care to add?
I just hope people enjoy what I've created and feel seen.


PQ: What are you most proud about, as a member of the community?
The level of support and care we have for each other. We are a family, a tribe, and it really shows in how we share compassion with each other.

To support Quasar and his new flag, he's created a Kickstarter account. Make sure to check it out if you are interested in supporting not only his cause, but the cause of progress within our community. 

Daniel Quasar Courtesy of Daniel Quasar 2018 Thumbnail