Did you know that the number of people who identify as LGBTQ is rising? Today, over 11.5 million adults in the U.S identify as LGBTQ and one in ten youth identifies this way. These numbers are surging because society is becoming more accepting of people for who they are.
Despite this progress, change still needs to happen. It is challenging to be proud of who you are when there are still people and laws that that discriminate against LGBTQ+ individuals.
Nonetheless, showing off your pride can be incredibly rewarding. There’s so much history behind the different kinds of pride flags that exist today.
Your Ultimate Guide to Pride Flags
Keep reading to learn about the diverse range of the pride flags that have been designed over the years. The variety that exists may surprise you!
The Pride Flag That Started It All
The history of the original pride flag should be in textbooks and taught in school. It was created by Gilbert Baker in 1977. Tasked by Harvey Milk, a historic figure in the fight for LGBTQ rights, to create a flag for the queer community, Baker created a rainbow flag with eight different colors.
Inspired by the classic song “Over the Rainbow” from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, Baker created a rainbow flag to represent LGBTQ folks. Each color in the flag also had a specific meaning.
- Hot pink symbolizes sex
- Red equals life
- Orange symbolizes healing
- Yellow stands for sunlight
- Green represents nature
- Turquoise equals magic and art
- Indigo stands for serenity
- Violet represents the spirit of LGBTQ people
The 6-Color Pride Flag
One of the most well known and used of the LGBT flags throughout history has been the 1979, six-color flag. This flag includes the colors red, orange, yellow, green, indigo, and violet on it.
Hot pink wasn’t included in the fabrication of these flags, because the fabric was hard to find as the demand for the flag started to rise. The turquoise color was also taken off the flag to keep an even number of colors.
The Philadelphia Pride Flag
The Philadelphia Pride Flag came about in response to the demand for more inclusivity across the LGBTQ+ community. The flag launched in 2017 as part of the “More Color More Pride” Campaign in Philadelphia.
The addition of black and brown stripes to the traditional pride flag symbolized people of color who are often not represented in the queer community.
Lena Waithe’s choice to wear the Philadelphia Pride Flag as a cape at the 2018 Met Gala is the perfect example of this type of inclusion. She is a powerful advocate for black people within the entertainment industry and this flag spiked in popularity after she elevated its visibility.
The Transgender Flag
There are more than 1.4 million trans adults living in the U.S. Violence against the queer community affects trans people of color the most.
This is why the trans flag is so important. The trans community needs representation and resources to be visible without fear.
The flag was first created in 1999 by Monica Helms, a transgender woman. Pink and blue represent girls and boys respectively. The white stands for those in transition or those who don’t feel identified with any gender.
The Nonbinary Pride Flag
In 2014, Kye Rowan created the nonbinary pride flag. The colors of the nonbinary flag are yellow, white, purple, and black. The colors each symbolize a different subgroup of people who identify as nonbinary.
Yellow signifies something on its own or people who identify outside of the cisgender binary of male or female. White, a color that consists of all colors mixed together, stands for multi-gendered people. Purple, similar to the lavender color in the genderqueer flag, represents people who identify as a blending of male and female genders.
Finally, black (the absence of color) signifies those who are agender or who feel they do not have a gender.
The Nonbinary Trans Flag
Up to this point in history, people who identified as both nonbinary and trans either had to use both flags or use neither. Now, nonbinary trans folks have their own unique flag to fly with pride.
Naturally, most transgender people would like to be inclusive of nonbinary people and visa versa. Thus, this new flag embraces both of these identities in a single six-striped flag.
This nonbinary trans flag is a combination of the colors of the trans pride flag and the nonbinary pride flag, merged into one.
The Intersex Flag
This flag went through a variety of iterations before the current intersex flag emerged. Previous versions embraced the rainbow that is often associated with queer pride, while others used colors like blue and pink, which are found on the transgender flag.
In 2013, Morgan Carpenter chose the colors yellow and purple for the intersex flag. Morgan moved away from the rainbow symbolism and selected these colors because neither is associated with the social constructs of the gender binary.
The circle, perfect and unbroken, represents the wholeness of intersex people. It is a reminder that intersex people are perfect the way they are or choose to be.
The Flag for the Asexual Community
The asexual flag was created in 2010 by the Asexual Visibility and Education Network. This flag represents the asexual community. Because this is a less common identity and asexuality can mean different things to different people, it is best to ask each individual what it means to them.
For some people, it may mean that they rely on other types of attraction instead of or in place of sexual attraction.
Once again, each color in this flag also represents something unique.
- Black stands for asexuality
- Gray represents demisexuality, sexual attraction after an emotional bond
- White stands for the allies of the community
- Purple represents the entire community of asexual folks
The Bisexual Pride Flag
The bi pride flag was created in 1998 by Michael Page. His idea for the flag represents pink and blue blending to make purple. The way that bisexual people can blend into the straight community and the gay community.
The colors of the flag also represent attraction to different genders. The pink symbolizes attraction to the same gender, while the blue represents attraction to a different gender. The purple represents attraction to two or more genders, the definition of bisexuality.
The Pansexual Flag
The flag that symbolizes the pansexual community was created in 2010. Pansexuality represents those people who feel attracted to a person without thinking about gender. This means that they can feel attraction to those who identify as women, men, both or neither.
The pink on the flag represents attraction to women, blue represents attraction to men, and yellow stands for attraction to those who don’t identify with either gender.
The Flag for the Lesbian Community
The lesbian flag is one of the flags fewer people know about. This flag features different shades of pink and sometimes comes with a red kiss on it to represent lipstick lesbians.
This flag was created by Natalie McCray in 2010. Some lesbians oppose this flag because of its exclusion of butch lesbians but no other flag has as much popularity as this one.
The Gay Men Pride Flag
The gay men’s pride flag is another lesser known pride flag. It features different shades of green, blue and purple.
This modern gay men’s pride flag is a revamp of an earlier gay men’s pride flag that featured a range of blue tones. That version was problematic because it used colors that were stereotypical of the gender binary.
This updated flag is inclusive of a much wide ranger of gay men, including but not limited to transgender, intersex, and gender nonconforming men.
The Progress Pride Flag
Given the evolving nature of the LGBTQ+ community and society at large, the Progress Flag integrates many of these flags into one. Thankfully, it has been redesigned to be more substantially more inclusive.
This flag includes stripes to represent the experiences of people of color, as well as stripes to represent people who identify as transgender, gender nonconforming (GNC) and/or undefined.
In recent years, this Progress Flag has become one of the most widely used pride flags.
It was designed in 2018 by non-binary American artist and designer, Daniel Quasar. The term “Progress” was specifically chosen for its name, in order to distinguish it from the “New Pride Flag” created by Julia Feliz, which was also designed in 2018.
New Pride Flag
As mentioned above, the “New Pride Flag” was created by Julia Feliz in 2018. Julia Feliz created this new pride flag to “unapologetically center and give credit” where it’s due, to trans and queer people of color.
This New Pride Flag is designed to ignite the LGBTQIA+ community to center our most marginalized community members.
When you view the flag, you will notice that the five stripes representing trans and queer people of color are positioned in a prominent and balanced manner relative to the six stripes that were featured in the original 6-Color Pride Flag designed in 1979 (described above).
The flag’s designer, Julia Feliz is a gender expansive Black and Indigenous Native Puerto Rican. You can read more about Julia’s identity and this pride flag’s mission here.
Intersex Inclusive Pride Flag
As the name of this flag suggests, this pride flag is inclusive of intersex people, as well as trans, nonbinary, and queer people of color.
Some people believe this is the most inclusive pride flag yet, but of course, not everyone agrees given with this analysis. The reason for this is that the different stripes and sections of this flag vary in size and prominence relative to one another.
This pride flag features six horizontal stripes, five angled stripes in the shape of sideways “V”, and a triangular section featuring the yellow and purple intersex symbol.
The angle of the five forward facing stripes are meant to indicate that the community is always seeking progress forward.
Everything You Need to Know About Pride Flags
There are so many pride flags that represent the diversity of the LGBTQIA+ community. Given this, it’s important to know the meaning behind the flags that represent different members within our community.
Which flag do you identify with and prefer to fly? Let me know in the comments below.