MAP Flag

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Part of NewgonWiki's series on
minor-attracted identities
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Category: Minor-attracted people
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For an extended list of graphics, see Memes and Graphics.

In order to identify themselves, MAPs have designed a MAP Flag, which garnered widespread social media attention in July and August 2018, along with widespread attention for the term "Minor Attracted Person". Rumors had spread on social media, that MAPs intended to use the flag at pride events, and these fears resurfaced the following summer.

2018 (NOMAP/MAP Flag) by Stenna. Conceived on Tumblr, it was the first design to be widely known as a MAP Flag, after social media publicity and a now-redacted "debunk" by Snopes.

Calls for a flag appear to go back at least to a 2009 competition, on Newgon.com (our predecessor) - in which various proposals were solicited for a symbol. The German user Philist, a pro-c, had signed up to the now-defunct Newgon Forum (screencaps of archive further down the article) with the primary purpose of submitting stripe and gradient-based flag designs, some of them with symbols. Philist was insistent that activism would be furthered via symbolism, and many of their designs were forwarded to the competition, including the "gradient" flag in the gallery below. The gradient and gradient-star flags also gained some support in the voting phase, but this stage was never completed, as it co-incided with a reduction of admin support for the forum, and its eventual closure in mid-2011.

The 2009 concept laid dormant for many years, along with the rest of the Newgon website, and its relationship to the later design, or lack thereof is a current point of controversy in the community. Instead of speculating as to the likelihood of a relationship, our article displays both flags and their designers' respective rationales.

The limited recognition of variant MAP Flags with a darker color palette has allowed for the production of more varied secondary graphics deriving from the flag's aesthetic.

Origin of 2018 flag

Lecter's 2017 MAP/Ally chevron designs

The origins of the 2018 flag are a Tumblr user named Stenna, who published it in June of that year, according to the NNIA Mastodon/Fediverse instance owner comrade_lecter.[2][3] Lecter, had in 2017 designed two chevron flags on Tumblr for MAPs and Allies, but they did not go viral like Stenna's later flag.[4]

Stenna's flag graphic then spread throughout social media, although after its removal by Tumblr, Stenna's page was then squatted by a hostile actor.[5] Tumblr trolls have subsequently been suggested by various "fact checkers" as the true source of the flag, although this is likely to have resulted from the confusion surrounding Tumblr's censorship attempt. The initial controversy surrounding Stenna's 2018 flag extended beyond social media, infecting the gay press.[6][7] In one article, GayStarNews (an outlet who once ran a puff piece for the events of a convicted ticketing fraudster, using a shortened version of his name[8][9][10]) attempted to discredit the 2018 flag as not being "a real pride flag". In the historically ignorant article, GayStarNews incorrectly[11] stated that pedophiles were attempting to re-enter the LGBTQ community, also comparing the publicity to a known hoax.[12] These "hoax" claims were repeated elsewhere.[13][14]

Since it was published, the MAP Flag has become internet folklore, attracting many variations inspired by common alternative pride flags. These have been wrongly interpreted as LGBT re-entryist attempts by MAPs. The 2021 version, and a subsequent pro-c proposal have caused some controversy on Twitter.com, with smalltime influencers burning printed versions on camera, and members rowing over what version of the flag should be considered the "legitimate" MAP Flag.

Erroneous claims of novelty and trolling by "fact checkers"

Mainstream "Fact Checkers" at Snopes.com have claimed that the MAP Flag concept "originated with a troll experiment on Tumblr". AFP Fact Check repeated some of those claims.[15][16] These hastily compiled "fact checks" appeared to be based upon a fear that MAPs were attempting to rejoin the LGBTQ+ community after years of ostracism. It was also claimed that Minor Attracted People did not coin their own term of identification, which as our research article demonstrates, is false and erases the influence of MAPs in history - for example leading GPP authors to make incorrect statements about the MAP Movement in its literature against Moral panic.[17]

Snopes later went on to correct themselves in a 2023 article referring (among other things) to Brian Ribbon's use of the term in 2007 comment threads.[18] A 2023 list of pride flags did not consider the MAP Flag among the many LGBTQ+ pride flags listed, despite the fact that it emerged from a Tumblr community, like many flags of its era. Even flags depicting allyship with heterosexuals were included on the list.[19]

Symbolism and development of concept

There have been many variations of the symbolism rationale for a gradient/MAP Flag. Within the context of the MAP Flag and its 2009 predecessor:

  • The white stripe has been said to represent unwillingness to offend, or neutrality/purity. "Peace" and unity between MAPs of different persuasions is another possible rationale.
  • The yellow could be said to represent liberty. In the NOMAP Flag, it represents minors, with no emphasis on gender.
  • The gradient stripes are always said to represent boys/more masculine personal features and girls/more feminine personal features, sometimes of differing life stages.

NOMAP Flag of 2018

Stenna's original rationale for the NOMAP Flag:

"The top two stripes are blue to represent NOMAPs attracted to young boys. The bottom two stripes are pink to represent NOMAPS attracted to young girls. The inner stripes are yellow to represent childhood and general attraction to minors, regardless of their gender. The middle stripe is white to represent our innocence and unwillingness to offend. Please feel free to use this flag and make icons out of it etc!"[3]

Philist's 2009 proposal

On the 7th of August, 2009, in the 345th post of Newgon Forum's 123rd topic, the German, Philist submitted the first known design for a gradient flag by a MAP - an idea that he had been developing for months. Shortly after this, Newgon admin (relaying a rationale submitted by Philist in the forum thread) stated:

"Like the tricolor concept, gradient stripes attempt to represent all aspects of the erotic. The color pink represents the feminine, blue for the masculine, and white both for the purity of these and for all those not included in the two categories of CL expression. [...] A spectrum of gender and age"[20]

Gallery of forum discussions

The discussion "We need a Flag" was started by Newgon Forum user defend_yourselves555 on 14 May, 2008, and ran to 449 posts prior to the doomed voting phase. Here, using a temporary archive of our PunBB database, we reproduce some of the contributions relevant to the gradient flag predecessor to the MAP Flag. Images were externally hosted on now-defunct sharing sites, and are therefore sadly no longer visible. Nevertheless, the designs discussed and their dates match the submissions to the 2009 competition wiki article.

Later controversies

Blues clues controversy

In June, 2021, a video posted by the iconic children’s TV show Blues Clues, in support of Pride month, appeared to show an inverted NOMAP Flag in one of its segments, leading to further hysteria on social media. Some users have since pointed out that the flag represented appeared to be the Gender Questioning Flag.[21]

In 2023, considerable controversy ensued after a Twitter user revealed what she described as a Youth Attracted Person flag (featured in article).

One common claim, often seen among American Christian conspiracy theorists is that the better-known and much-maligned Progress Pride Flag contains the colors of the MAP Flag,[22] in order to "include MAPs in the LGBTQ+ community". These claims, which appear to be far-fetched, are disputed by fact checkers.[23]

External links

A Mornington News letter-writer fell prey to the conspiracy theory
  • Vox populi video (source unknown) - In which members of the public are quizzed about their knowledge of the flag.
  • MAP Wiki Article - Article on Anti-c Wiki, explaining some rationale for the NOMAP Flag. This article also contains some peripheral alternative flags, such as a Minor MAP Flag.

References