The Creation of a Flag

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Pugnacioun
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The Creation of a Flag

Postby Pugnacioun » 05 Jul 2010, 02:56

A few days ago, someone on AVEN introduced the possibility for the creation of an "official" flag to represent asexuality, and yesterday a collection of flags (around fifty suggested designs) were opened up to voting, though without a preliminary vote on whether the asexual community truly wanted a flag, thus welcoming a variety of dissenters. There's a great deal of discussion both in support of and against the creation of a flag (idea introduced here and later opened up to voting - and argument - here), but one argument against the voting in of a flag came from the fact that all of the discussion had taken place entirely on AVEN, and thus ignored the wishes of the rest of the asexual community.

I don't know how many of you are on AVEN (thus, probably, making this post unnecessary/redundant), but I thought it would be worthwhile to open up the discussion in as many parts of the wider asexual community as possible. So what are your thoughts re: flag creation?

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Dargon
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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby Dargon » 05 Jul 2010, 08:02

I am not on AVEN, so I thank you for bringing this over here.

Now I looked through the topics, though I did not read in depth, and here are my thoughts.

First off, I am not sure we really need a flag. Not sure what it is, but it seems a bit premature to be rallying behind a flag.

That being said, if one were to be made, more than simple aesthetic appeal is important. Sadly, aesthetics seem to be what is being voted on. Solely.

When I looked through the choices, many seemed to be arbitrary placements of purple, gray, white, and black. What does that even mean? Many were color-changed copies of already existing flags, including national flags, something which I am not a fan of. There are a few flag-shapes so heavily associated with nations that using them will instantly conjure images of said country. Consider the gay pride flag. I know of no country that uses six horizontal bars. It's unique to the movement. Yet in the submissions I saw numerous flags that had the shape of the French flag, the Norwegian Flag, The Swiss Flag, and even the Confederate Flag. Best not to use any of these I think.

Also consider symbology. Common symbols used in the asexual community would the the ace of spades, the cake, or the AVEN triangle. Now I am not a fan of the ace, seems too fighter pilot to me, and already has enough connotation behind it outside the asexual community to not be a useful symbol. The cake, that's just a bit silly. The AVEN triangle, well, I'm one of the dirty minded people who think it looks like the female crotch, so I'm reluctant to use it. However, the transition from the old AVEN triangle, the one with the solid black bottom, to the new one (new being fairly relative), the one with the gradient, rings rather significant. The thought process, for those unfamiliar, was that the black and white logo showed a clear cut boundary between sexual and asexual, which was hard to define in real life. The gradient showed more clearly that it was a spectrum, with a varying degrees of grey in there.

While I feel the gradient to be one of the more important and usable symbols in asexuality, it does run into two problems with using it in a flag. The first, the gradient in the AVEN symbol comes to a point, and for a reason. Flags are square, so getting it to that point and keeping the same meaning behind it would be difficult, unless it were a pennant-shaped flag. However those are unwieldy. The second issue is that gradients aren't easy to put on a flag, since flags tend to use nothing but solid colors. The closest one can come to solving this is stripes of varying shades, reminiscent of cell-style shading. I did see a few flags doing this.

I suppose in the end my biggest issue with the stuff I saw was that the colors were thrown together and arranged in a manner that may have looked good, but was not well thought, had no real meaning.


One aside for Pugnacioun, you might also consider taking this discussion over to the A-sylum (http://www.strait-a.net/index.php). Many older AVENites who have long stopped posting on AVEN are over there.

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Puppy
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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby Puppy » 05 Jul 2010, 08:42

The thread was first posted to my forum (the one I moderate) and it felt like it appeared out of nowhere and they were already planning on the voting before I had even seen the thread. So all in less than 24 hours. I posted a friendly "slow down" post with shiny green mod colour, but it went pretty much ignored. It feels to me that the new members are too eager and making too drastic decisions. I have nothing against new members but I got the impression they didn't even know all the history behind the triangle and cake and stuff (but they did have opinions on them, anyway).

Thre was also an idea that AVEN's Project Team (it runs projects, as the name tells) should have a look on the flag issue. I don't think they ever got that far since the voting is already in action. I would have liked the PT to get involved. It would have made the whole thing a bit more organised, as opposed to the "who happened to notice the thread and had Paint open" mentality. As Cashew said, they could have drawn a nut and it would have been included in the voting options.

My opinion is no flag unless it's a well-thought democratically (whole AVEN plus others) agreed on flag.
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Siggy
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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby Siggy » 05 Jul 2010, 08:56

First off, I am not sure we really need a flag. Not sure what it is, but it seems a bit premature to be rallying behind a flag.

I'd say the point is to use the flag for pride parades. I honestly can't think of any other time it would be used, at least not until we get to the "conquer all nations" part of the evil asexual agenda.

Consider the gay pride flag. I know of no country that uses six horizontal bars.

Actually, haha, the rainbow flag is used for Cusco, Peru, though it has seven bars. Since learning this fact, I've wondered how Peruvians feel about it.

Many of the designs are crap. Like, what's with all the circles and x's? When have those ever been used in asexual symbology, seriously? I say either horizontal bars, or something with the triangle. I wasn't happy with any of the triangle designs. I agree with Puppy, the whole thing was way too rushed.

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KAGU143
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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby KAGU143 » 05 Jul 2010, 09:09

I took a look at that thread and I am thinking, as Scooby Do would say, ... Baroo?? (ie: WTF??)

It is WAAYYY too rushed, and I agree with Dargon in that there seems to be very little thought behind it. NONE of the flag designs really appealed to me, although some were less odious than others.
Dargon, remember when the gradiated triangle was first adopted? As I recall, I made up a version of it with a series of bands to suggest a gradient because I didn't have a program that would do gradients, and then you fixed it. (Sadly, my original graphics died along with my first computer.) It was voted in and became official after you fixed it, and it got DJ's approval - later becoming part of the website's logo. Did DJ originally request a change? I can't remember.

It is worth noting, just for the record, that the AVENites can vote on anything that they want to but that still won't make it official. There isn't any way that I know of to do that since AVEN is only a messageboard, not an organization which officially represents all asexuals. To my knowledge, there is no such organization in existence - at least not yet.
Starting a non-profit organization is a pain in the rear, and it requires a lot of dealing with the IRS ... *shudders* Been there, done that ... *shudders again*
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Dargon
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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby Dargon » 05 Jul 2010, 09:50

KAGU143 wrote:Dargon, remember when the gradiated triangle was first adopted? As I recall, I made up a version of it with a series of bands to suggest a gradient because I didn't have a program that would do gradients, and then you fixed it. (Sadly, my original graphics died along with my first computer.) It was voted in and became official after you fixed it, and it got DJ's approval - later becoming part of the website's logo. Did DJ originally request a change? I can't remember.


I do indeed recall that. I do not recall what originally set the wheels in motion regarding that change, but I do recall it being a bit lengthy and there being a good deal of discussion around the change. I do also recall DJ being a fan of the change, as he, too, agreed that a spectrum with greys in there was more accurate than the original sudden shift from white to black.



As for the non-profit stuff, I have a bit of experience in that realm as well, and indeed it is rather a pain in the neck.

Puppy wrote:There was also an idea that AVEN's Project Team (it runs projects, as the name tells) should have a look on the flag issue. I don't think they ever got that far since the voting is already in action. I would have liked the PT to get involved. It would have made the whole thing a bit more organised, as opposed to the "who happened to notice the thread and had Paint open" mentality. As Cashew said, they could have drawn a nut and it would have been included in the voting options.


As a member of the original Project Team, I must say that getting them involved would have been a great idea. It would have allowed a small group to hammer out the details before opening it to the masses. Details such as not being recolors of already existing flags, or use of prominent asexual symbols could have been settled upon before anyone with access to MS paint could throw their hat into the ring. None the less, that seems a bit late now with the flag, as it is, underway.

Then again, as Greybird has pointed out, just because it is voted upon doesn't make it official. Even the black rings, which received wide discussion (and are apparently still around) never became official nor universally accepted.


Just another aside, it appears the Flag thread itself was created by a member that joined that day. Not to sound elitist, but who is a one-day member, someone who probably is unfamiliar with the community and the setup of the forum, to make such a move?

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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby SlightlyMetaphysical » 05 Jul 2010, 22:07

My gosh, the forum for setting up flag designs makes... interesting reading. Don't know how much I'll be able to read, but so far, they seem to be saying that horizontal stripes are uniquely the preserve of LGBT (take that, France! Germany! And, come to think of it, America!).

My favourite post so far has been simply: "they're cool, but maybe a flag that represents asexuality in some way? O.o"

And, yeah, there's a remarkable lack of, well, design. Fitness for purpose, heraldry, brand image, I think it all got lost when someone said "Cool idea, I'll open paint" rather than "Cool idea, let's think about this."


I've come to a conclusion about the flag- I really don't care. If 12 people know there's an 'offical' asexual flag, I'll probably see it pretty rarely. The only occasions I'll have to see it are those when I go to some asexual Pride event, and that's if the flag is even taken up by the organisers. And hopefully, the organisers will include more traditional asexual symbols as well.

Roy
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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby Roy » 06 Jul 2010, 01:51

I can't see the need for a flag at all. For starters, a flag is supposed to stand for something. Asexuality doesn't stand on its own, it stands for a lack of something (albeit something very common). It seems somewhat comical, like making a flag for people who don't wear glasses, or people who aren't diabetic.

Flags pertaining specifically to sexuality are iffy. The rainbow thingy which I admittedly don't know much about is, if I understand correctly, supposed to symbolise several things, among them diversity and the prevailance of tolerance, not to mention flying in the face of centuries of on/off oppression and hatred. Asexuality doesn't have that history or defining characteristic, so why the need for a flag? I suppose one potential argument is that what asexuality needs the most, if anything, is visibility and education, and a flag would help further these objectives. I disagree because the only people who would recognise such a flag are the ones who know about asexuality already. So unlesss the chosen flag is printed with a definition of asexuality on it, there's not much education potential in it.

Personally I think the flag-wanting business is just people getting too carried away with what is a relatively small characteristic.

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Dargon
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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby Dargon » 06 Jul 2010, 06:17

Roy wrote:I can't see the need for a flag at all. For starters, a flag is supposed to stand for something. Asexuality doesn't stand on its own, it stands for a lack of something (albeit something very common). It seems somewhat comical, like making a flag for people who don't wear glasses, or people who aren't diabetic.


While I do not disagree with the rest of what you have said, this particular one strikes me.

A lack of something considered normal and fundamental is indeed something that may need to be rallied behind. Something that needs visibility and education, lest those who are such persons be identified as abnormal. I draw the parallel to atheists. Some often question why they need to rally behind something they do not believe in. In a world that bombards people with the importance of faith, and that professes that anyone who does not follow faith is immoral, raising awareness is an important step, and symbols and flags are a good way to do it (though to my knowledge, while atheism has numerous symbols, it has no flag). Likewise, considering asexuals are considered broken or disabled, visibility is important there as well, and a flag seems like a decent tool.

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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby ily » 06 Jul 2010, 12:06

I'm not against the idea of a flag, but as I said on AVEN, choosing a flag based on an internet poll just seems counter-intuitive to me. I think we'll probably end up having a flag someday, but symbols aren't things you can just choose in a poll. They acquire meaning with time and repeated use.

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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby Noskcaj.Llahsram » 06 Jul 2010, 13:50

Siggy wrote:Actually, haha, the rainbow flag is used for Cusco, Peru, though it has seven bars. Since learning this fact, I've wondered how Peruvians feel about it.

Probably a lot like the Greek Lesbos
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ily
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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby ily » 06 Jul 2010, 15:39

Noskcaj.Llahsram wrote:
Siggy wrote:Actually, haha, the rainbow flag is used for Cusco, Peru, though it has seven bars. Since learning this fact, I've wondered how Peruvians feel about it.

Probably a lot like the Greek Lesbos


My grandmother still hasn't gotten over the fact that "gay" doesn't mean "happy" anymore.

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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby Charis » 07 Jul 2010, 17:11

Ah yes the flag.

I think that instead of saying that this flag is representing all asexual people, I think that it's actually representing AVEN. In my experience AVEN is what gets thrown out into the media for visibility so not as many people know about Apositive or Asylum. I think that for many, especially newly identifying asexuals, AVEN is the asexual community and that means to them that it speaks for all asexuals, despite the fact that that's not true. There are other spaces on the internet where asexuals meet and discuss and there are those who don't bother with the internet.

In regards to the colors being used, I believe that the same arguments were made, white for asexuals, black for sexuals and gray from those who fall in-between. The purple was supposed to represent the community but again, that's an AVEN trait.

I think that even if all asexuals agreed on a flag it would never come to have the same usage as the rainbow flag. So perhaps that what's happening is that AVEN is voting on an offical flag to represent the AVEN community, not all asexuals. The title just happens to be slightly wrong.

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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby Isaac » 10 Jul 2010, 04:52

Siggy wrote:
Consider the gay pride flag. I know of no country that uses six horizontal bars.

Actually, haha, the rainbow flag is used for Cusco, Peru, though it has seven bars. Since learning this fact, I've wondered how Peruvians feel about it.

This flag adapts the standard of Inca Empire to a modern flag, so it's much older than gay flag. Peruvians seem quite homophobic, in Cusco more than in Lima, but I haven't asked for their opinion about gay flag.

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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby Jicragg » 17 Jul 2010, 05:24

I really question the point of a flag aswell even though last year I was one of the people who wanted one. My mind has changed. Much as where I stand on the symbol. It seems the issue that those who start the idea of a symbol it's always on AVEN and whether it's an asexual and AVEN merges together. I think it happens all the time.

I highly doubt the first gay communities decided on the rainbow. I wonder when they picked that or when it happened.

As one who took part and will hopefully continue to take part in Pride parades I would rather not have the flag.

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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby disjointed » 09 Aug 2010, 02:37

I agree the flag is a mixture of..awareness for lgbt parades..and some newbies rushing an idea

I do have to say though,, the drive, ambition and willigness to make positive things by those behind it rather than just debate up the ying yang was and is refreshing

I've mentioned a few times that the current favourite with this feeling that all shades of my grandads pants may not be one that visually catches the eye and is remembered in the mind other than to think ..ewwww

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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby Dargon » 09 Aug 2010, 06:15

disjointed wrote:..and some newbies rushing an idea


This mostly.

I've been participating mostly to try and prevent the crappiest of designs from winning (though these efforts seem to be in vain). Fortunately, I figure this debacle will be gone in forgotten in a few months time. I doubt the flag will catch on; especially outside AVEN.

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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby Sciatrix » 09 Aug 2010, 14:38

I don't know, Dargon. Have you been paying attention to the recent QueerSecrets posts? Lots of them are already picking up on the A1 design, the one with the four horizontal bars of black, grey, white, and purple. Surely the people submitting secrets--some of whom are not asexual, I might add; at least one person using the A1 design that way did not appear to be--aren't necessarily a perfect overlap with AVEN. I suspect that that one will pick up steam in asexuality-related contexts as time goes by.

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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby Jicragg » 10 Aug 2010, 09:19

They (those on AVEN) are also advertising it as much as possible outside of AVEN, asking if apositive and a-slyum know about the recent round of voting, or something. It may indeed catch on.
You know those gay, lesbian and bi people who dislike the rainbow flag. I feel as though I'm an asexual version of them.

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KAGU143
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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby KAGU143 » 10 Aug 2010, 10:10

I can't seem to work up much interest in any of the proposed flag designs, but I took a page from Dargon's book and decided to go vote for the best of the bad.
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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby fridayoak » 11 Aug 2010, 06:54

I feel a bit guilty cos I voted for the one that won (the 4 horizontal stripes) but it was my second choice (behind Macs from Asylums one) so maybe I shouldn't have voted for it but I was under the impression that there'd be another round of votes to come with the top 2 or 3 or 4 and people having just one vote. Cos this vote they had doesn't seem like a "final round" at all, as there were 12 choices and people were allowed 3 or 4 votes each, so people may have been voting for their 3rd favourite, just as a way of getting it through to the last round rather than saying it's the one they want to win.

I don't think it's been handled well, but I guess the winner isn't too bad and I think it will catch on cos it's essentially just a 4 colour combination so it'll be easy to apply that to things. Actually I think that it's the colour combo rather than an actual flag thing that will have most prominence; I can't see many people bothering with actual flags.

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Dargon
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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby Dargon » 11 Aug 2010, 08:08

To say it was not handled well is quite the understatement. It was done in a very make-it-up-as-you-go what-the-newbie-says-goes sort of way, with no involvement from the project team or anything like that.

At risk of sounding rude, I do hope this flag falls by the wayside. I will not be using it.

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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby Jicragg » 11 Aug 2010, 08:20

The PT didn't support the idea, that's why they weren't involved. Mostly because they felt it went far too narrow too quickly and simply didn't grow like human vocabularly. The example being that you don't wake up one day and go: 'I'm making up the word ____ to mean _______' it just happens naturally. It also restricts chance for change and says that this winning flag must be accepted whether you like it or not!

The fact that some places are using it outside of AVEN is a sign that it is being accepted in some places but much like the gay purple hippo just because it has some usage doesn't mean it will stick. Perhaps from the flag something else will come up instead much like my dad's half dead olive tree. Top half dead and presumed dead, yet tiny stalks are growing from the bottom and it looks awesome. Hopefully this will happen in regards to the flag and/or symbol we still don't have and still appear to discuss.

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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby fridayoak » 11 Aug 2010, 08:55

I think the PT has to shoulder a lot of the blame. I mean they didn't get involved because they were against the idea but there was about an 80% in favour margin in all votes, so it was clear that there was a mandate for it going ahead with or without them. They really should have put aside their personal feelings and lead or oversaw the idea, isn't that what the PT is there for? Otherwise what's the point of thembeing there. Surely it would have been best for the community if the enthusiastic 2 or 3 individuals who lead the idea had some sort of guidence from above?

I got involved a little but I couldn't keep up and I'm really not bothered enough by it to put much effort, and it's not my job to anyway, that's why I couldn't understand why the PT didn't get involved. Just cos they might not want a flag doesn't mean they shouldn't helped out those who did.

Personally I don't really mind the idea of having the flag, it's more the process that was flawed in my opinion.

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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby Jicragg » 11 Aug 2010, 08:59

fridayoak wrote:They really should have put aside their personal feelings and lead or oversaw the idea, isn't that what the PT is there for? Otherwise what's the point of thembeing there.

I ask myself that a lot. As PT elections are coming up I highly doubt such a query will not be present.

Discussing AVEN in a place where a number of people have fled from AVEN seems very strange.

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KAGU143
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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby KAGU143 » 11 Aug 2010, 12:30

Oh ... I dunno. *shrug*

I talk about AVEN all of the time, here and elsewhere. I have quite a few complaints about the way things are done over there, and I'm not afraid to talk about them, but I think it's a lot like having complaints about my little brother back when he was still alive. No matter how furious he made me he was still my little brother, and heaven help anybody who ever tried to harm him. Big sisters can fight dirty!
I owe a LOT to AVEN - after all, it's where I met my husband - so I hope I can always retain at least SOME measure of affection for the place.
I haven't given up on it yet.
Not by a long shot.
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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby disjointed » 12 Aug 2010, 05:18

For me the upset will be now that it's concluded who will actually use it?

the drive of those that organised it is to be admired after all they genuinely went cross forums in many countries etc ..not something that is done by the pt at all so for that I have quite a lot of respect

given that most who took part do not even admit to being asexuals or are so unsure that they do not want to disclose it..the thought that suddenly everyone is going to get a flag made and walk around with it is probably well meaning niavity

I do not think also it's just coincidence that the flag discussion happened after a pride march where some of the supporters had nothing other than a hand scribbled t shirt or a piece of cardboard announcing asexuality

if you go on gay marches and think the german lookin goth flag represents asexuality I have to say..you maybe dissapointed

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KAGU143
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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby KAGU143 » 12 Aug 2010, 12:57

I agree that the people who pushed so hard to make it happen should be commended for their efforts and enthusiasm, even if the flag that they ended up with doesn't do much for me, personally. I remember "back in the day" in 2004, when I was still very new to AVEN and it was a much smaller site, that quite a few of us were really excited about spreading the word and it seemed like there was a lot more willingness to dig in and make personal sacrifices if that's what it took.
It's good to know that there are some AVENites who are willing to step forward and get involved. PT nominations are going on now and I kinda hope that some of the flag promoters will run for the PT and get elected. That kind of dedication is really needed.
The PT was never intended to be the ONLY group of members who were sanctioned to promote visibility. That was always supposed to be something that all were welcome to participate in. The PT was originally supposed to help coordinate and implement the vast amount of input and suggestions that they would be getting from the membership at large .... and ... erm .... well ... most of the time they were lucky to get anything at all.
At some point, it seemed that a large part of AVEN's membership moved into the Just for Fun forum, grew roots, and couldn't be bothered to participate in anything else. Many won't even vote in the elections.

The interest shown in the flag project has been a very refreshing change. I hope it's a sign of things to come.
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Dargon
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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby Dargon » 12 Aug 2010, 13:22

Truth be told, I would consider electing some of the new blood who did the flag thing into the PT. It needs that kind of enthusiasm. Mind you, it needs some old blood in there too, lest they do everything super hastily and poorly managed. I was hoping for PT involvement since they have better knowledge of the inner workings of AVEN, rather than it be lead, as it was, by people who had been members for a matter of days or weeks.

That being said, it is interesting to note the PT did not get involved due to lack of internal support. It seems they said nothing to the community at large, and with the push for their involvement, at the very least a public statement on intent would have been appreciated.

Disjointed brings and interesting point regarding the flag. It seems a great deal of AVEN is not out, thus won't be sporting this shiny new flag. Those that are out, will they be using it? I do agree that it might be nice to have it for pride parades and the like, but it needs time to catch on, and only time will tell if this or something else will catch.

As for feelings and affection towards AVEN, I look at it as a community, and communities are made and broken by their members. AVEN was useful back when I started up. I met a lot of cool people there, including my real-life best friend. At this point, however, most of them have left. There are some familiar faces, but most are not all that familiar. Perhaps my long absence lends to me feeling like a stranger. In any case, my remaining fondness for AVEN lies with the people who brought that fondness, not AVEN itself.

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Re: The Creation of a Flag

Postby Jicragg » 19 Aug 2010, 03:47

There's a thing called QueerSecrets, it like Postsecrets, except queer. Send in a secret and we all read it. This one came up and I thought it had a good point/made me laugh.
Image

We do have a depressing flag. Purple is fine but the rest...


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