The Malta Independent 19 September 2019, Thursday

Allied Rainbow Community opens call for proposals for flag identifying LGBTQ+ Maltese

Albert Galea Sunday, 18 August 2019, 10:00 Last update: about 1 month ago

The Allied Rainbow Community (ARC) has opened a call for design proposals for a flag which will express the dual identification of LGBTQ+ Maltese persons as both Maltese and LGBTQ+.

The call comes after a photo showing Equality Minister Edward Zammit Lewis posing with a flag which had the rainbow colours replacing the red half of the Maltese national flag drew widespread criticism.

The ARC said that it has received “much admiration for this first attempt at a rainbow Maltese flag, but also had a number of people expressing hurt,” before adding that it did not mean to cause any offence.

“Indeed, with this first version of a rainbow Maltese flag, we wanted to have a symbol for inclusion, with a flag expressing the dual identification of LGBTQ+ Maltese as both Maltese and LGBTQ+,” the organisation wrote in a statement.

“While this proposal for a rainbow Maltese flag has not been universally accepted, we would like one for Malta, especially for international LGBTQ+ events, which is a standard for each country,” the ARC said.

Speaking to this newsroom, ARC’s Clayton Mercieca reiterated that the group wanted a flag and a symbol that could represent Maltese LBGTQ+ members of society. He said he was unapologetic about the design of the first flag, but understood that some people would not like it, and so the group was open to new ideas.

Asked what values he would like the flag to represent, Mercieca said that he wanted it to symbolise inclusivity, diversity, and welcome. He noted that Malta was in a good position with regard to LGBTQ+ rights, one which people in other Mediterranean regions, such as Turkey, the Middle East, and North Africa, only hope to one day experience and achieve.

The flag, Mercieca says, will send a strong signal for inclusivity and, more than anything, hope.

With this in mind, the ARC has opened a call for design proposals, asking those interested to submit their ideas to [email protected] by 30 September. A diverse panel will select the best three designs, with the final design chosen by the public in October.

Countries such as the United States and Canada have in the past combine the rainbow flag and their respective national flags. These have been used in official celebrations, with high-ranking politicians such as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau posing with the flag on more than one occasion.

The Malta Independent is the official newspaper for this year’s Malta Pride.

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