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Portland creator of Progress Pride Flag pushes LGBTQ culture, movement forward

It's become a universal icon, but also typifies a turning point for trans and people of color in the LGBTQ community.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A Portland artist's symbol of inclusion is getting international attention -- again!

Daniel Quasar said he got tons of texts and messages saying, "'Have you seen Drag Race tonight?' and I said, 'Yes, I did!'"

Quasar's phone blew up a few weeks ago when the designer's work made an unexpected appearance.

"I had no idea, it was a surprise to me."

A few years ago, he created an updated version of an LGBTQ symbol -- the Progress Pride Flag.

In January -- it showed up on VH1's hit show "RuPaul's Drag Race."

"What a great platform to see the flag I created," Quasar said. 

Credit: (Courtesy: Daniel Quasar)
A self-portrait of Daniel Quasar in 2020. When they created the Progress Pride Flag in 2018, they had no idea it would become part of a global movement.

The flag goes beyond the rainbow -- the color white added represents lives lost to HIV and AIDS -- pink and blue for the transgender community -- and black and brown for the people of color who helped spearhead the pride movement in the face of violence and persecution.

"Our community still deals with a lot of stigmas and a lot of racism and a lot of transphobia from within the queer community."

With these colored stripes and a chevron -- pushing forward culture; Quasar said good art makes you question your belief system or look at something in a new light.

The goal is to bring awareness and, "lift them up because they are struggling more than we are even willing to take notice of."

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) reported at least 44 trans people were killed in 2020 -- mostly people of color. Advocates with HRC said this is the highest number they've seen in a year since the HRC began gathering data in 2013

HRC said many more stories likely go unreported.

so a symbol like this -- brought to life through pop culture  -- can bring light to their humanity.

"I wanted to create action," Quasar said. 

Quasar's Progress Pride Flag merchandise helps raise money for organizations that combat violence against LGBTQ people -- or prevent youth suicide for those at disproportionate risk. 

Since they created the flag in 2018, they have seen the symbol spread.

Quasar said they have received support and orders for his flag from, "all four corners of the world."

Drag Race UK also took notice this season -- contestants dressing in colors to match the flag, giving a nod to the design. 

Although Pride events and gatherings may have to wait again this year -- Quasar hopes the bigger message carries through.

"It may be a pandemic, but we can still come out and support each other, which is pretty amazing," they said. 

And Quasar's flag is part of the fabric stitching together these strong bonds in their community.