The modern LGBTQ+ movement began with the Stonewall Riots in 1969. However, the first gay pride flag wasn’t created until 9 years later by gay activist, artist, and Vietnam veteran Gilbert Baker. Most of the other pride flags, including the gay man flag, are far more recent.
Since then, the original flag has gone through a major change, often sporting six rainbow stripes instead of the original eight. The community itself has made several major gains, as well, with the most significant being the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015.
The movement has also widened to recognize questioning, intersex, asexual, and other formerly under-represented persons. For this reason and others, many other LGBTQ+ flags have emerged.
One of these special flags is the gay man flag, which we’ll explore in greater detail within this article.
Origins of the Gay Man Flag
The gay man flag is a pride flag that, like most pride flags, has been revised over time. The original, for instance, had horizontal stripes of various shades of blue with a white stripe in the center.
The original version proved controversial because people thought it reflected a gender binary rather than a gender spectrum.
The new version was created by a Tumblr user named gayflagblog in 2019, with light green stripes on one half and blue stripes on the other, separated by a white stripe in the middle.
Meanings and Symbolism
The design of the gay male flag, and most pride flags for that matter, was inspired by Baker’s rainbow flag design. Like Baker’s design, the gay man flag features a lot of symbolism, with each shade of blue and green representing something different.
The green stripe at the top symbolizes community. Community is the cornerstone of the LGBTQ+ movement, and having places to embrace and interact with that community is what started the movement in the first place. The Stonewall Uprising started with LGBTQ resistance after police raided the Stonewall Inn.
Teal symbolizes healing, which is also represented by the orange stripe on the rainbow flag.
The light green stripe below that represents joy.
The white stripe represents those that the previous, more binary flag didn’t include, such as trans men, nonbinary men, and nonconforming men.
Light blue stands for love, purple stands for courage, and dark purple or indigo stands for diversity.
The gay man pride flag differs from the rainbow pride flag because it has seven stripes. The original pride flag had eight stripes, but due to a shortage of materials, two of the stripes were eventually removed or combined with a different stripe.
MLM Flag (Men-Loving Men)
While this flag one of the more obscure one within the LGBTQ+ flag set, the gay man flag is recognized as a one representing gay men.
Sometimes this flag is also called the MLM flag. MLM is an acronym that stands for “men loving men” or “man loving man.”
Of course, gender is a spectrum so the MLM community is diverse.
This community includes cis gay men, but it also includes gay transgender men, bisexual men, and other men, boys, and male-aligned people who are attracted to men, boys, and male-aligned people.
Gay Man Flag: Who Invented It and What Does It Mean?
Hopefully this introduction to the rich history of the gay male flag was insightful. Although you now know when it was created and what it means, there’s always more to learn about the LGBTQ+ community.
What would you add about the history or significance of this important flag? Share your insights in comments below.