This article is a response to the article, "No, Your Flag Is Not Equal To The American Flag," written by Brian Teal. You can read that article here.

Brian,

You're livid? Yeah, so am I. I'm not livid about "the gays" "disrespecting" your flag though. I am livid that you had the audacity to write such an ignorant, disrespectful, uneducated, and presumptuous article. What. A. Disgrace. To say that not only is your article written in bad taste is not enough. It completely takes the goals and motivations of the LGBTQ+ community and twists them. What you said is a poor characterization of the community, and here's why.

To start, let's talk about our respective "communities." First of all, you're right; the LGBTQ+ community is not the entire country. We don't represent everyone, and we never could. But those soldiers don't represent all of the US either. Do I need to remind you of the riots against involvement in the Vietnam War? The Korean Conflict? Desert Storm? The War on Terror? Missions, "accomplishments" and (if we are calling it what it is) atrocious war crimes against peoples of other countries in the name of "our freedoms." Now, I know the US does a lot of good in the world, and our freedoms have been protected by military action, and by no means am I a pacifist. But, perhaps, we should take ourselves off this pedestal that blinds us to the crappy country we often look like and to the often criminal way we treat others.

Also, you talk of the "meaning of that photo." Do you know what I see when I look at that photo? Not a great country. Instead, I see a country that was willing to sacrifice the lives of over 25,000 people on that island, Japanese and American, and end up not succeeding in the first place. A country willing to turn them over to gruesome deaths and unsanitary conditions that left our troops to rot in bases on that god-forsaken island. I see a country that allowed those same veterans, and others after them, to come home and become homeless, begging on the street, with no access to appropriate healthcare and a quality of life that they deserve. Your flag? Your country? I see a country that stood by while we treated, and continue to treat, members of the LGBTQ+ community like the mentally ill and second-class citizens. That flag flew high while we locked up homosexuals, treated them with shock therapy, subjected them to violence at the hands of police and others, and oppressed them. Your flag. Your country. You know what, you're right. Those marines didn't fight for gay rights. They didn't hold the pride flag. We had to do that. We had to fight against oppression and for basic rights, while the United States dropped brutal atomic bombs on millions of unarmed civilians "just to prove a point."

Point taken.

Be proud that you have the freedoms you so audaciously strut. Meanwhile, I'll be over here, still working to make this country into something worthy of that pride. Fighting for the rights that everyone deserves, not just ignorant men like you. Congrats, you got one thing right: we have died, we have fought, we have rioted, we have protested, we have been activists, we have beat down courthouse doors, looked the government in the eye, stared down the homophobes and the racists, beat back oppression, and we will continue to do so. Like it or not, the LGBTQ+ community has every right to this country that you do. It's awfully hard for the community to disgrace that photo when the country it stands for deserves very little. Standing up for that flag, and this country, while there are still people out there trying to oppress your neighbors makes you a disgrace, not the LGBTQ+ community.