With the month of June representing Pride across the globe, countless communities are rejoicing and celebrating love and friendship. Each community has adopted a style of their own, with freedom of expression being a key denominator amongst all that celebrate this empowering event. However, although we all come together under the rainbow flag that is so commonly displayed everywhere, those keen-eyed viewers will also notice that there are numerous renditions of that very flag. These represent different communities and causes in this vast tapestry that is Pride. Have we caught your attention? Well, read on for a guide to all of the pride flags and their meanings.
Firstly, the Rainbow Flag as we know it today, incorporates eight different colours that have individual meanings. These are:
- Hot pink – Sex
- Red – Life
- Orange – Healing
- Yellow – Sunlight
- Green – Nature
- Turquoise – Magic/Art
- Indigo – Serenity
- Violet – Spirit
In fact, this flag is the most common and widely used version of the pride flag and was first designed in 1978 by Gilbert Baker. He was an American designer and vexillographer (flag maker), and world-famous political gay rights activist.
The rainbow flag 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 artist Rainbow Flag has become a globally recognised symbol of liberation for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and other communities (LGBTQ+). Likewise, 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
Following on, the Transgender Pride Flag was designed by a transgender activist and veteran named Monica Helms in 1999, according to Northwestern University. It includes white, pink and light blue stripes and is the second most common flag after the Rainbow Flag.
Following on from Gilbert Baker’s revolutionary design in 1978, artist Daniel Quasar combined both renditions of the rainbow and transgender flag in 2018. He also included a brown and black line (to represent BIPOC and those with HIV/AIDs) in order 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.
Likewise, he added an additional black and brown stripe to represent marginalised LGBTQ+ communities of colour. He also represented those community members who lost their lives to HIV/AIDS or those currently living with it.
In fact, the design of the flag was reshaped into a chevron beckoning the need for a forward movement from the cause. It highlights 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. They aim to represent matters of importance in individual communities.
Genderqueer Pride Flag
Likewise, Marilyn Roxie, a genderqueer writer and activist, designed the Genderqueer Pride flag in 2011. It features three stripes:
- Lavender – Androgyny 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
Next up, the Genderfluid Pride Flag has five horizontal stripes. These 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
Following on, 17-year-old, Kye Rowan, is said to have designed the Non-Binary Pride Flag in February 2014. Apparently, 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
Recently, 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 a partial connection to a particular gender. In fact, 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 females which replaces Yellow with Pink
- Demiboy – for those who partially identify with males and 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 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
Following on, graphic designer, Sean Campbell, brought together the Labrys and a black triangle for one flag with a violet background in 1999. He did so 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. There are seven shades of pink, orange, white and red on the flag. These 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 the 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
Likewise, this flag was created by an artist called Jasper in 2010. It was first shared with the community on Twitter where it gained traction. It 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. They 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, the President of Intersex International Australia, this flag contains just two primary colours: purple and yellow. This is because they are often considered to be the most gender-neutral. In fact, this flag was created in 2013 to fight for bodily autonomy and gender integrity. Its symbolised by an unbroken circle that represents wholeness and completeness and an individual’s potentialities.
Asexual Pride Flag
Lastly, this flag was created in the August of 2010 by Asexual Visibility and Education Network. The aim was to create a symbol for asexual people. Like many of the other flags on our list, it consists of four horizontal stripes. Likewise, each colour has a 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 lies 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. Interested in celebrating Pride this year? Read on to find out about the history of the rainbow revolution.