Why the Rainbow Flag?

1978 was the year, Gilbert Baker was the man, San Francisco, California was the location and there were 8 original colors Click here for a 1:39 video on this history. After the Stonewall Riots in 1969,the gay liberation movements, and more work on gay civil rights, we needed a symbol. When I give my presentations I speak about how having a rainbow flag sticker, or any type of rainbow emblem lets our community know you are a safe person. The rainbow symbol will even tell our community that a business is “open” to serving us. Many religious institutions will also invite us in with a rainbow flag. NEVER underestimate the power of the rainbow. In fact, I give out little bags of Skittles(imagine there is a trademark there) in addition to rainbow stickers to my audiences so they can show their support as allies!

If you have met me in person, you might know that I am also known as “Lady Rainbow” and that my wife and I LOVE collecting anything rainbow. As a middle and high school counselor in Wisconsin, I always made sure to wear a rainbow lanyard as a symbol to my students, staff and families that I was a safe person. In graduate school, I asked my mentor how many “out” school counselors there were in Wisconsin. She didn’t have the answer and decided to base her doctoral thesis on this subject. The one thing she continues to have in her private counseling office is a rainbow bookmark that I gave her as a thank you gift.

Wisconsin’s current Governor Tony Evers stood with our community as the rainbow flag flew over our state capital building in Madison for Pride Month! Here is the one minute read on this historic event!

Sometimes, people might think that the legalization of gay marriage in all 50 states has eradicated our struggles for equality. I am a 50 year old woman of white privilege and I still have my moments of caution; which is why the simple act of making a rainbow visible can make ALL the difference. We will get into the other LGBTQIA symbols/colors/flags in another blog post.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and please let me know if Lady Rainbow can answer any of your LGBTQIA Frequently Asked Questions!

Published by Lisa Koenecke

An award-winning motivational speaker looking to help you succeed! Lisa is a proven collaborative leader and systems change advocate. She grew up on a farm and spent 20 summers as a camp director for both the YMCA and the Girl Scouts. After receiving her master's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, she has been a middle and high school counselor for 12 years. She is the Past President of the Wisconsin School Counselor Association and has served on the American School Counselor Association Board of Directors. Currently, Lisa is an Adjunct Instructor at Lakeland University training the next generation of counselors.

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