The traditional rainbow pride flag is the most recognizable symbol of the LGBTQ+ community. Since it first appeared in 1978, dozens more pride flags have been created to represent people across the gender and sexuality spectrums.
Today, there are flags for people who identify as transgender, bisexual, asexual, intersex, genderqueer, two spirit, and more.
LGBTQ flags give communities a sense of pride. They also help create visibility and foster inclusion. The flags are often colorful—just like the playfully fun clothing and accessories worn by many members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Keep reading to learn more about the meaning and history behind some of the many LGBTQ flags.
The Gilbert Baker Pride Flag
Also called the “LGBTQ flag” or the “gay pride flag,” the classic rainbow flag is named after artist and gay rights activist Gilbert Baker. He created it in 1978 at the request of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in California. Baker chose the rainbow design not only for its cheerful look, but also because it’s a universal symbol of hope.
The original flag included pink and turquoise stripes, which were later dropped to make a simpler design for mass production. The gay pride flag serves as more than just a symbol of pride. Businesses routinely display it in their windows to show that their establishment is a safe space for all.
The colors of this flag represent Life, Healing, Sunlight, Nature, Serenity, and Spirit.
The Progress Pride Flag
The progress pride flag (also called the Philadelphia pride flag) was created by queer and nonbinary activist Daniel Quasar in 2018. It was updated in 2019 to include triangular black and brown stripes to recognize people of color, as well as the colors of the trans flag, which intersect with the traditional rainbow flag.
The Trans Pride Flag
The transgender pride flag was created by transgender author, actor, and Navy veteran Monica Helms. She purposely incorporated the traditional colors for boys and girls, with a white stripe in the middle.
After creating the flag, Helms began bringing it with her everywhere, including pride parades. Around 2013 she started seeing the flag flying all over the U.S. and around the world. She later donated the flag to the Smithsonian Design Museum.
The Lesbian Pride Flag
The lesbian pride flag has changed a lot over the years, and several variations are still used. One controversial version of the flag depicts a double-edged axe set in an inverted triangle, which some have said looks eerily similar to the black triangle Nazi concentration camps used to identify lesbians. The newest version of the lesbian pride flag is a series of stripes, signaling diversity. The orange line suggests gender nonconformity.
The Non-Binary Pride Flag
The non-binary pride flag was created in 2014 by then-17-year-old Kye Rowan. Each color in the flag has its own meaning and is designed to represent those who don’t conform to the traditional gender binary, people with multiple genders, people with mixed genders, and people with no genders.
The Pansexual Pride Flag
The pansexual pride flag has been around since the 2010s, although it’s a mystery who created it. The pink stripe is said to represent attraction to females. The yellow stripe is said to represent attraction to people who do not identify as either male or female, and the blue stripe is said to represent attraction to males.
The Drag Pride Flag
This purple, white, and blue flag with the prominent pink crown at the center is an alternative to the Feather Pride Flag for the drag community. The purple stripe represents passion for drag. The white stripe represents a blank slate, allowing people to create their own character. The blue stripe represents self-expression and loyalty to the community. The pink crown represents leadership.
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