Early version of Mad Pride flag design by Serafin

Early version of Mad Pride flag design by Serafin

Mad pride?

I continue to be astounded at the creativity, intelligence and sheer tenacity of individuals who self-identify as “mad” or “crazy.” (I’ve explored the word “crazy” and its reclamation in an earlier post.)

Witness the current dialogue around creating a Mad Pride flag. I recently became aware of this exchange, and of the Mad Pride movement, through an excellent blog post by Richard-Yves Sitoski, Designing the Mad Pride Flag.

A little background

In an effort to familiarize myself with the Mad Pride phenomenon, I read Dr. John Grohol’s post, Mad Pride Movement Meets in Toronto. I’m attracted to the aspects of Mad Pride that speak to restoring human rights and personal dignity, and to its goals of removing stigma and celebrating our authentic selves. However, there appears to be a strong contingent of this movement who vilify the psychiatric and pharmapsychology paradigms outright.

“…we all have one thing that unites us: the need to be acknowledged, respected and listened to by those in the medical community and indeed by anyone in a position of power.” ~ Richard-Yves Sitoski

On this aspect, I tend to agree with Dr. Grohol that it’s not helpful to indulge in “us” versus “them” arguments. Like Grohol, I’d prefer to think of it as us AND them, as we work together to make lives better on an individual basis. We’re all different; not just physiologically, but in terms of our values and beliefs. Our individual rights to choose the path that’s best for us should be upheld, with the caveat that others must not be harmed by our personal choices.

Go to the source(s)

Regardless of the variety of viewpoints represented within the Mad Pride movement, my interest was immediately piqued by the thoughtful, creative and respectful approach demonstrated by those undertaking the task to create a flag to represent the Mad Pride movement in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

To give but one example, here’s Sitoski’s explanation of the thought process around how many stripes to use in the flag’s design:

The number of stripes was an issue.  Should we base it on the international ICD 10 classification of 10+1 categories?  Or the DSM-IV’s 17-and-change?  Either would have been unwieldy.  And wrong.  We’re not who we are because of some pseudo-empirical 3rd-party system of categories and rubrics.  We simply are.

A conversation with the designer

Tomorrow, in Waving the Pride Flag, Part II, I’ll share my conversation with flag designer Saraƒin, who heads the flag-creation campaign. Saraƒin invites anyone who’s interested to join in the process. You can send your comments, input, or even your own design ideas to: [email protected]

Don’t miss tomorrow’s post where we’ll learn more about the ideas behind Mad Pride and its ingenious flag creator!

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