Hamilton wore a helmet featuring the Pride Progress Flag, a redesigned and more inclusive version of the traditional rainbow flag, and emblazoned with the words “We Stand Together.”
The flag features additional black and brown stripes to highlight the oppression of people of color, as well as pink and blue stripes for the trans flag and a purple circle on a yellow background, which is the intersex flag.
Although the Pride Progress Flag was initially designed by American artist Daniel Quasar in 2018, it was British intersex activist and columnist Valentino Vecchietti who finalized the version seen on Hamilton’s helmet, which includes the intersex flag.
According to the United Nations Free and Equal campaign, up to 1.7% of the global population is intersex, or does not have sex characteristics that conform to “typical binary notions of male and female.”
“We have to remember that young kids with intersex variations growing up in school see all this media,” she said. “As an intersex person myself, at school, I grew up with so much stigma and shame and feeling I had to keep it hidden … Lewis Hamilton has done something amazing. He’s given me a platform to begin these conversations on a much larger scale.”
Racing Pride, which aims to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion in motorsport, also praised Hamilton, calling the helmet “a magnificent and powerful gesture of solidarity.”
The Qatar Grand Prix has come under scrutiny due to the country’s human rights record, particularly towards LGBTI individuals. Homosexuality is illegal and punished with a fine or a prison sentence, and trans people cannot legally change gender.
However, the report adds: “It does not appear that any person has been executed for this reason or at all.”
In an interview with CNN’s Amanda Davies in 2017, Nasser Al Khater, the chief executive of Qatar’s 2022 World Cup organizing committee, said: “We are not putting any restrictions on any nationality or anybody with respect to their gender, race, orientation, religion to attend this World Cup.”
For Vecchietti, this is monumental in terms of representation for the intersex community.
“I wished and hoped for this sort of visibility, as you always do,” she said. “But I had no idea that somebody as huge as Lewis Hamilton would make this fantastic statement of solidarity.”