Des Moines organizations collaborate on pride flag

This new pride flag is a collaboration between Capital City Pride, Des Moines Black Liberation Movement (DSM BLM), Flag of Des Moines and One Iowa.

Logan Metzger

Recently, four organizations came together to present a new LGBTQIA+ pride flag, but this time, it also represents the pride of a city: Des Moines.

Capital City Pride, Des Moines Black Liberation Movement (DSM BLM), Flag of Des Moines and One Iowa jointly introduced Des Moines’ own pride flag — a flag containing 11 colors that acknowledges and celebrates LGBTQIA+, Black and brown and transgender individuals — through a press release May 1.

Like the Philadelphia flag, this flag incorporates LGBTQ, trans and Black and brown colors to celebrate the diverse voices in those communities,” said Flag of Des Moines co-founder Emily Kessinger. “And we thought we would use this kind of routed based design from the Flag of Des Moines to make one for our community, and that acknowledges those individuals as well.”

According to the organization’s website, Flag of Des Moines started in 2018 as a grassroots movement to bring back Des Moines’ flag that was created in 1974 and taken out of circulation in 2008. The original Des Moines flag was formally reinstated in 2019.

According to the press release, Mason Kessinger, a co-founder of Flag of Des Moines, designed the new Des Moines pride flag “to celebrate the diverse community that is Des Moines.”

“My husband designed it, and he had been working on it off and on for, you know, a few years actually,” Kessinger said. “The pride flag idea is something that we had back in 2019. And then toyed around with it, you know, we didn’t want to end up having like 50 products. We wanted to kind of keep it smaller at first. And then we realized people like new products and people want new things, and decided to work in tandem with a few organizations to share the image and promote it and celebrate it, and then we’re getting proceeds back to those organizations and donating some of the products of those organizations.”

According to the press release, the idea for collaboration with the pride flag came about due to how the various organizations work to support their community in Des Moines.

“The idea for collaboration came about given Capital City Pride’s support of our diverse community and culture, DSM BLM’s focus on solidarity racial justice, One Iowa’s mission to advance, empower and improve the lives of LGBTQ Iowans statewide, and Flag of Des Moines’ desire to connect with and dedicate proceeds to organizations focused on equity and change in our community,” the press release said.

Members of the different groups also made statements about the new pride flag with the press release.

“The new pride flag is a symbol of hope in a vision for an inclusive society where people have both an equitable and an accessible means to thrive. Capital City Pride is honored to have the opportunity to support the LGBTQ community through various activities throughout the year that promote education, celebration and dialogue that pushes Des Moines forward,” said Destinee Woodris, director of community, diversity and education for Capital City Pride, in the press release. “Thank you Flag of Des Moines for creating a visual that speaks to the beauty of our diverse DSM community.”

Courtney Reyes, executive director of One Iowa, said in the press release that One Iowa’s work is centered around intersectionality, and the new pride flag represents “the core message that there is no pride for some without liberation for all.”

The new pride flag is available for pre-orders on the Flag of Des Moines website since May 1. Stickers and mini flags are also available for purchase. Fifteen percent of proceeds from all Des Moines pride flags will be remitted annually and divided equally between Capital City Pride, DSM BLM and One Iowa.