With the month of June representing Pride across the globe, we can safely say we are ‘into the thick of it’ with countless communities celebrating and rejoicing in what we have come to know as Pride today.
Each community have adopted a style of their own, with freedom of expression being a key denominator amongst all that celebrate this empowering event.
And although we all come together under the rainbow flag that is so commonly displayed everywhere, those keen-eyed viewers will also notice that similar to those unique styles, and there are numerous renditions of that very flag that represent different communities and causes in this vast tapestry that is Pride.
The most common and widely used version of the pride flag was first designed in 1978 by Gilbert Baker, an American designer and vexillographer (flag maker), and world-famous political gay rights activist.
The Rainbow Flag as we know it so well today incorporated eight different colours that had different meanings:
- Hot pink – Sex
- Red – Life
- Orange – Healing
- Yellow – Sunlight
- Green – Nature
- Turquoise – Magic/Art
- Indigo – Serenity
- Violet – Spirit
And would be waved at marches and Pride walks, and displayed from windows and balconies of the world for the next four decades in support of the Pride movement.
According to the Gilbert Baker Foundation, the artists Rainbow Flag has become a globally recognised symbol of liberation for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and other communities (LGBTQ+), and it has inspired many other LGBTQ++ identities to design flags of their own.
Today there are dozens, so here’s a short guide explaining the different types of flags that exist in the community and the meaning behind each of them.
The Transgender Pride Flag for example was designed by a transgender activist and veteran named Monica Helms in 1999, according to the Northwestern University. It includes a white, pink and light blue stripes and is the second most common flag after the Rainbow Flag.
After Gilbert Baker’s revolutionary design in 1978, in 2018, artist Daniel Quasar combined both renditions of the rainbow and transgender flag, as well as a brown and black line (to represent BIPOC and those with HIV/AIDs) to reimagine and redesign the Progress Pride Flag and what is accepted now as the flag to represent Pride. This year, this has been added to with an Intersex symbol.
He added an additional black and brown stripe to represent marginalised LGBTQ+ communities of colour while also representing those community members who lost their lives HIV/AIDS and those currently living with AIDS.
The design of the flag was reshaped into a chevron beckoning the need for a forward movement from the cause and the importance for the matter to be taken seriously by Governments and nation states.
Over the years since Gilbert Baker, Monica Helms and Daniel Quasar, many other designers have adapted and added to the work of these great artists to represent matters of importance in individual communities.
Genderqueer Pride Flag
Marilyn Roxie, a genderqueer writer and activist, designed the Genderqueer Pride flag in 2011. It features three stripes:
- Lavender – Androgyny which is a combination of masculine and feminine characteristics into an ambiguous form.
- White – Agender and Gender-neutral identities
- Chartreuse – to represent a third gender and those who don’t fall within the binary of gender
Genderfluid Pride Flag
The Genderfluid Pride Flag has five horizontal stripes that represent gender fluidity and the genderfluid community. Designed by JJ Poole, who describes the five shades as aesthetically pleasing, each colour is considered to represent a different aspect of gender:
- Pink – Femininity
- Blue – Masculinity
- Purple – Both Femininity and Masculinity
- Black – Lack of Gender
- White – For all Genders
Non-Binary Pride Flag
17-year old Kye Rowan said to have designed the Non-Binary Pride Flag in February 2014 because he believed there was a demand in their community for a flag that could represent them better than the Genderqueer Pride Flag. The flag consists of four colours:
- Yellow – To represent those whose gender exists outside of the binary
- White – For those who have many or all genders
- Purple – For those who consider their gender a mix of both female and male
- Black – For those who don’t feel an attachment to any gender
Agender Pride Flag
The Agender Pride Flag came about in 2014. Created by Salem X as a direct response to the “huge influx of identities, pronouns and other means of personalising one’s identity” gained traction online. The flag included:
- Black and White – To represent an absence of gender
- Grey – Symbolising semi-genderlessness
- Green – Non-binary genders
Demigender Pride Flag
Demigender – which means half gender – is an umbrella term for people with non-binary identities that have partial connection to a particular gender. The dark and light grey stripes represent partial genders, and the yellow represents non-binary genders. There are two variations of this flag:
- Demigirl – Which stands for those who partially identify with female which replaces Yellow with Pink
- Demiboy – for those who partially identify with male which replaces Yellow with Blue
Demisexual Pride Flag
According to the Demisexuality Resource Center this flag is used to describe someone who is unable to feel any sexual attraction to another individual unless they have formed a powerful and emotional bond beforehand. The colours are widely considered to represent:
- Black – Asexuality
- Grey – Demisexuality
- White – Sexuality
- Purple – Community
Polyamory Pride Flag
Designed by Jim Evans in 1995, this flag includes three colours as well as a Greek letter π (pi). π was chosen as the mathematical constant as it is an irrational number, and its decimal representation never ends. The three colours represent:
- Red – Love and Passion
- Black – For Solidarity with those who keep their polyamorous relationships from the outside world
- Blue – Honesty and Openness among partners
Lesbian Labrys Pride Flag
Graphic designer Sean Campbell brought together the Labrys and a black triangle for one flag with a violet background in 1999 with the intention of representing the lesbian community. It was recorded that Campbell was inspired by Greek mythology and chose the labrys to pay tribute to Ancient Greece and the Amazon Women. In the 1970s, this flag became synonymous with lesbian feminists in their fight for liberation.
Lesbian Pride Flag
Created by Emily Gwen, this is now widely regarded as the official lesbian flag. The seven shades of pink, orange, white and red represent gender non-conformity, independence, community, unique relationships to womanhood, serenity and peace, love and sex, and femininity.
Bisexual Pride Flag
To give bisexuals their own symbol, and to help increase visibility of the community, LGBTQ+ activist Michael Page designed the bisexual flag in 1998. The g]flag consists of three colours that represent:
- Magenta – Same sex attraction
- Blue – Attraction to different genders
- Lavender – Representing an attraction across the gender spectrum
Pansexual Pride Flag
This flag was created by an artist called Jasper in 2010 and was first shared with the community on Twitter where it gained traction and has since been the symbol for the Pansexual community. The three-striped flag represents:
- Blue – an attraction to men
- Pink – An attraction to women
- Yellow – for people who don’t fit within the gender binary
For more information on the flag and its creator, head on over to Jasper’s Twitter handle here.
Polysexual Pride Flag
This flag was designed in 2012 by Samlin, a Tumblr user who commented that they were “greatly saddened by the fact that we don’t have a flag.” Polysexual is defined as being attracted to multiple genders but not every single one. The flag includes three colours:
- Pink – For an attraction to women
- Blue – For an attraction to men
- Green – For an attraction to those who identify as non-binary
Intersex Pride Flag
Designed and created by Morgan Carpenter who is also the President of Intersex International Australia contains just two primary colours: purple and yellow because they are often considered to be the most gender neutral. The flag was created in 2013 to fight for bodily autonomy and gender integrity symbolised by an unbroken circle which represents wholeness and completeness and an individual’s potentialities.
Asexual Pride Flag
Created in the August of 2010 by Asexual Visibility and Education Network to create a symbol for asexual people, this flag, like many of the others consist of four horizontal stripes. And similar to the rest, each colour has meaning:
- Black – Asexuals
- Grey – Demisexuals
- White – Allies
- Purple – Community
These are just some of the most common flags in the vast tapestry of communities however, the beauty in these flags lie not with the colours or the meanings behind them, but rather with the power they possess to bring people together, no matter colour or creed.
These flags symbolise that we are all one people and that the world is big enough for us all to exist as one community.