Peggy Wessex (real name Steven Gale) got more than she bargained for promoting her “Taste the Rainbow” show. The flyer for the show–which also circulated as an image on social media–caused a stir of outrage over its perceived racism.
The city of Manchester previously announced that it would adopt the revised version of the Pride Flag for use in promotion of its Pride Festival to better represent racial diversity. The move met with a mixed reception. While some praised the move as a sign of inclusivity, others criticized the changes to the Pride Flag for breaking with traditional symbolism that no color of the flag represents a racial group.
Wessex has since removed the image from her social media, though has stopped short of apologizing. “It was meant to be a joke at Manchester Pride who just decided to add the colors,” Wessex said. “So some people think it’s offensive because it’s the black and brown color? The rainbow flag was made so it was inclusive of everyone.” Bar Pop, the venue hosting Wessex’s show, did issue a full apology noting “[w]e are sorry for any harm, upset or offense caused by the posting.”
The 8-striped Pride Flag first debuted in Philidelphia in 2017. Members of the city’s LGBT Affairs Department debuted the flag to highlight people of color within the queer community. The move met with a divisive response at the time, with critics noting that the designer of the flag, Gilbert Baker, chose the colors to represent elements of the human spirit, not race or skin color.