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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 30, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 40
First gay pride flag launched into space
Section One
ALL STORIES
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First gay pride flag launched into space

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Bring up the rainbow Pride flag and you will get mixed reactions. Some say it is time for us to put silly symbols behind us and just exist, as we are, as equals to our fellow citizens. Others say that we need to keep the flag to remind us of where we came from, the struggles we've endured, and who we are as a community.

Complicating things (depending on how one looks at it) are the number of demographic-specific flags that have been created over the years: brown, black, and white for bears; blue, black, and white for Leather; pink, sky blue, and white for Trans, and so on.

Regardless of how each individual feels about these flags, however, cultures around the world rally under flags. We are no different.

With very little fanfare, an amazing gesture took place last month. A rainbow Pride flag was sent into space for this first time ever!

Planting Peace, a nonprofit that seeks to 'spread peace in a hurting world,' launched the flag using a high-altitude balloon with a GoPro attached near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on August 17.

According to Planting Peace, the rainbow Pride flag was airborne for three hours, soaring 21.1 miles above the planet's surface, before making its way back down to earth.

Planting Peace officials say they sent the flag into space as a symbolic declaration to make space LGBTQ-friendly.

'Our hope was to create the largest safe SPACE possible for our LGBTQ community,' Planting Peace told media. 'It also offered us a chance to reinforce, in a peaceful, beautiful way, our ongoing message to our LGBTQ family: You are loved, valued, and beautiful. There is nothing wrong with you. You are not alone, and we will stand with you.'

'It was an honor to send the first Pride flag into space,' Aaron Jackson, president of Planting Peace, as reported in the Huffington Post.

Jackson said that the backdrop of space gave Planting Peace a 'stunning, inspiring and peaceful canvas for our message of hope to our LGBTQ family. I would love for LGBTQ children who are struggling to see this, and look up to the stars and remember that the universe shines brightly for them, and they are not alone.'

Planting Peace has been involved in a number of high-visibility campaigns supporting LGBT rights and other social issues. The nonprofit created The Equality House, a rainbow-colored building across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church compound in Topeka, Kansas. Near the Equality House, Planting Peace also helped create a Transgender Pride house. The houses stand in opposition to the church's hate, especially against LGBT people, Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Muslims, Jews and other groups.

The organization even went as far as declaring Antarctica 'the world's first LGBT-friendly continent' in March.

While in Antarctica, Jackson told reporters that, 'Planting Peace will not stop fighting for LGBT rights until all sexual and gender minorities experience full, fundamental rights in every corner of the world.'

After the organization launched the rainbow Pride flag into space, Jackson could now say, 'Planting Peace will not stop fighting for LGBTQ rights until all sexual and gender minorities experience full, fundamental rights in every corner of the universe.'

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