The Pride rainbow flag, one of the most universally recognised symbols for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, represents “the many diverse segments” within the community, said Singapore-based LGBT movement Pink Dot.
In a statement on Saturday (25 July), Pink Dot highlighted that even today, “the Pride flag is constantly evolving to be more inclusive and diverse as more and more of us in our respective communities begin to find our voices and place in society”.
The Pride rainbow flag, it said, is “not about the number of colours it has”.
“We celebrate pride because it provides a safe space for people to be their authentic selves. It is about people coming together to celebrate love and friendship, and also remember how far progress on equality has come, and how much more work should be done.
“More importantly, it is about being proud of who we are, regardless of who we love,” said Pink Dot.
Pink Dot’s remarks were made in light of a controversy that arose after two members of a Christian group in Singapore called City Revival recently made a video demonising gay people.
Founder and director Jaime Wong, in the video which they have since taken down, posed a question to viewers on why “the gay pride uses a six-coloured rainbow flag as a symbol for love”.
“Satan knows that God is love. In the Bible, the rainbow is a symbol of the peace and love of God … The biblical rainbow has seven colours. Seven is a number symbolic of perfection in the Bible and it appears everywhere in Revelation … On the contrary, the mark of the beast is the number 666,” she said.
Influencer and former actor Joanna Theng similarly said: “Is it a coincidence that the gay pride celebrates taking pride in distorting the true symbol of the love and peace of God with the six-coloured rainbow flag?
“We believe this movement is one of the ways that Satan the spiritual force has influenced the physical realm to manifest in ways that insult and show contempt for God,” she added.
The origins of the Pride rainbow flag are widely attributed to American artist and gay activist Gilbert Baker, who was commissioned to design a symbol for the LGBT community by Harvey Milk — the first openly gay elected official in the state of California and a friend of Baker — for San Francisco’s annual Pride parade in 1978.
The original Pride flag had eight colours: Hot pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony, and finally violet for spirit.
Baker had then removed pink and turquoise, leaving the Pride flag with six colours as the world knows it today.
Touching on why he came up with the design of the Pride flag, Baker told CNN in 2015: “We needed something to express our joy, our beauty, our power. And the rainbow did that.”
In a string of videos — consolidated in an Instagram post on City Revival’s account — last Saturday, Wong recalled her past experience of returning to Singapore “to pursue a Christian woman I loved, only to be told that according to the God of the Bible, homosexuality is a sin”.
“I experienced firsthand the anger, the heartache, pain, tears, suffering, depression and suicide,” she said. “At that time, if there was a group I hated more than any other, it would be the Christians.”
She said she went as far as “wanting to prove that the Bible is nothing but a book of lies”. Her two-year journey, however, led her to become a Christian.
Wong admitted that she had “personally scripted” the “Revelation Bible study series”, which included the controversial video that has sparked outrage from LGBTQ persons and communities in Singapore.
“I understand that you may disagree with me on my truth, but every person has the right to their beliefs and to speak up for what they believe in,” she said.
However, her decision to remove the video from the public domain was done “in the spirit of peace”, said Wong.
Theng also posted an apology before deactivating her Instagram account and making her TikTok account private.
She had over 46,000 followers on Instagram at the time and has almost 140,000 followers on TikTok.
In her Instagram Story, Theng said that what she said was “never out of the intention of my heart to hurt anyone”.
“I understand how some of the parts had played out and were received … I am sorry that the way it was shared caused so much hurt. I sincerely apologise for that,” she wrote.
Branding views expressed by Wong and Theng in their video as “outdated allusions to the concepts of ‘sin’ and ‘Satan’”, Pink Dot in its statement last Saturday encouraged LGBT individuals struggling to reconcile their faith and sexual orientation and/or gender identity to reach out to “inclusive organisations” such as the Free Community Church — an inclusive, non-denominational church that welcomes everyone — or Oogachaga & Brave Spaces, which provide LGBT-affirming counselling.
The movement also expressed solidarity “with the many individuals who stepped up to share their stories of having to live through the effects of such harmful narratives” and thanked “the many individuals who have responded to the City Revival video with the intention to educate and correct the misinformation”.