Your Guide to Pride Flags
If you’ve been to a Pride celebration anywhere from London to New York, you have probably seen many different flags. Perhaps you noticed that some of them differed from the traditional rainbow flag. The queer spectrum represents many different sexual identities, and each one has a representative flag. Here is our guide to the different Pride flags you may have seen.
The Gilbert Baker Original Pride Flag
Harvey Milk issued a challenge to Gilbert Baker to create and sew a flag to represent the gay community. The veteran who taught himself how to sew created the original Pride flag taking inspiration from Judy Garland’s Over the Rainbow. Baker created the 7-color flag flown on June 25, 1978, at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade. There remains some discrepancy whether Baker Is solely responsible for creating the first gay Pride flag, but the symbolism still stands. Each of the seven colors represents one aspect of queer Pride including:
- Hot Pink to Represent Sex
- Red to Represent Life
- Orange to Represent Healing
- Yellow to Represent Sunlight
- Green to Represent Nature
- Turquoise to Represent Magic and the Arts
- Indigo to Represent Serenity
- Violet to Represent Spirit
The Pride Flag from 1978 to 1999
After Harvey Milk was assassinated, there were many in the community who wanted the Pride flag to commemorate his accomplishments and his contributions to the creation of the initial flag. However, there lacked enough hot pink fabric to meet the demand, so Gilbert Baker and the Paramount Flag Company sold an altered version of the Pride flag.
The Traditional 6-Color Gay Pride FlagThis traditional six-color version of the Pride flag is the one most people are familiar with. It hung from lampposts lining the streets of San Francisco. The most noticeable difference is the missing turquoise stripe. Most agree this change is due to the need to maintain an even number of stripes.
The Philadelphia People of Color Inclusive Pride Flag
Queer people of color often feel excluded from many in the LGBT community. After facing accusations of racial discrimination at its gay bars, Philadelphia added black and brown to the Pride flag. Some of the white community felt it was unnecessary since the Pride rainbow flag includes all skin colors, but the design seems to be here to stay.
The Progress Pride Flag
Daniel Quasar, who identifies as nonbinary and queer, sought to take Philadelphia’s approach to inclusion a bit further. He designed the progress Pride flag using even more colors. He added white, pink, and light blue to represent the transgender population and used brown and black stripes to represent people of color who had been lost to AIDS. Quasar explained that he desired to create a flag with even more meaning by including trans stripes and the black and brown stripes.
The Bisexual Pride Flag
Michael Page designed the bisexual flag to bring more visibility to the bisexual community. Using an older symbolism of bisexuality as inspiration, Page overlapped pink and blue. He created the flag with a dark pink top stripe, a blue bottom stripe, and a stripe in the middle where the two traditional, stereotypical colors for boys and girls overlap and combine to make purple.
The Pansexual Pride Flag
The Pansexual Pride flag was computer-generated in 2010. The three-stripe flag uses colors to represent pansexuality’s interest in all genders as partners. The pink stripe represents women, a yellow stripe represents nonbinary and gender-nonconforming individuals, and the blue represents men.
The Asexual Pride Flag
Also created in 2010, the asexual flag takes inspiration from the Asexual Visibility and Education Network logo. Its representation includes many identities, including demisexuals who do not experience sexual attraction until an emotional connection is made, and graysexuals who are in a fluid area between asexual and sexual individuals.
The Labrys Lesbian Pride Flag
A man created the lesbian Pride flag in 1999. Sean Campbell is a gay graphic designer. The flag has not garnered very much attention in the lesbian community. Its center features the ax-like weapon, a labrys, used by the Grecian amazons.
The Polyamory Pride Flag
This three-stripe flag features the symbol for pi, the infinite number. Pi and polyamory share first letters and celebrate how polyamorous people have infinite partner choices. Pi stands out in gold color to represent the emotional attachments we have with both romantic partners and friends, instead of just surface relationships. The gold pi rests on a red center stripe with a blue stripe above and a black stripe beneath.
The Intersex Flag
The organization, Intersex International Australia designed this flag in 2013. The intersex flag purposefully uses colors not associated with genders. This intentional move celebrates living outside the binary.
The Transgender Pride Flag
In 1999, a trans woman, Monica Helms, designed the transgender flag. It flew for the first time at a Pride Parade in Phoenix in 2020. The 5-stripe flag has a white stripe in the middle to represent those who are transitioning. It also stands for those who feel they have no gender or have a neutral gender and for the intersexed. The two outside stripes are baby blue for boys adjacent to a pink inner stripe for girls. The pattern was purposefully designed so that no matter which way the flag is flown, it will be the same. This is to symbolize how we try to find correctness in each of our own lives.
The Genderfluid-Genderflexible Flag
The five stripes on the genderfluid-genderflexible flag bear colors often associated with masculinity, femininity, and those in between. The pink top stripe represents femininity and the next stripe, the single white stripe represents the lack of gender. The third and purple stripe represents how masculinity and femininity come together as one. The black stripe is a symbol for all genders, including third genders. The bottom blue stripe is a representation of masculinity.
The Genderquer Flag
Marilyn Roxie created the genderqueer flag in 2011. It incorporates lavender to highlight androgyny, white for agender identities, and green to represent nonbinary people. For those who feel that the term queer is a slur, the flag is often referred to as a nonbinary flag.
The Lipstick Lesbian Flag
This flag is not used a lot, but if your tastes lean toward the most feminine pride flag ever, the lipstick lesbian flag is it. It symbolizes and celebrates the femmes who are a part of the lesbian community. They are fondly called “lipstick lesbians.”
The Leather, Latex, and BDSM Pride Flag
There has been much debate as to whether the kink community should be included in the LGBT acronym. The community itself has several flags. It incorporates blue and black alternating stripes with a single white stripe in the middle. Tony DeBlase designed the Leather, Latex, and BDSM flag in 1989. He designed it to be used specifically for the International Mr. Leather celebration in Chicago. It doesn’t exclusively represent the gay community, but it does represent the leather and BDSM community. The Leather Archives and Museum in Chicago displays the original flag.
The Bear Brotherhood Flag
Craig Byrnes designed the Bear Brotherhood flag in 1995 specifically for the International Bear Brotherhood. The flag represents bears or beefier gay guys with this unique flag they can call their own. The color scheme is designed to match a wood-dwelling bear’s fur.
The Rubber Pride Flag
Those in the rubber and latex fetish community will recognize the symbol on this flag. It’s similar in design to the Leather flag. Peter Tolos and Scott Moats worked together to design and create the rubber pride flag in 1995. They wanted it to help like-minded men identify with their shared sensory, mental, and sensual passion for rubber. The predominant use of black represents their “lust” for both the look and feel of black rubber. The red in the design symbolizes their “blood passion” for both rubber and rubbermen. The yellow highlights stand for their “drive” for intense rubber fantasy and play. And of course, the kink in the design is there for obvious reasons.
The Polysexual Flag
Pansexuality is the attraction to all genders. Polysexuality is the attraction to multiple genders, but not to all of them. Polysexuality occupies the middle ground between pansexuality and bisexuality. It focuses more on attractions to masculinity and femininity than to genders. The three-stripe design uses pink to represent the attraction to females and blue for the attraction to males. The green stripe in the middle represents an attraction to those who do not conform to either of the genders.
The Agender Flag
Unlike genderqueer people who bend the gender rules, agender people completely reject gender. The black and white stripes on their flag symbolize the absence of gender. The green stripe in the middle is meant to be the inverse of heavy purple so that it represents nonbinary genders.
The Aromantic Flag
Purple on flags represents the lack of sexual attraction. Asexual pride flags use purple to symbolize their lack of sexual attraction. Aromantic flags incorporate green to symbolize and celebrate living without romantic attraction.
The Non-Binary Flag
17-year-old Kye Rowan created the non-binary flag in 2014. He wanted to create the flag in response to the lack of representation of nonbinary people by the genderqueer flag. He wasn’t trying to replace the genderqueer flag but instead wanted it to complement it. He used yellow to symbolize gender aside from binary. White was used to represent those with multiple or all genders. He used purple to stand for those who feel fluid between both binary female and male. The black represents the agender community without color or sexuality.
The Pony Flag
Pony play, where people are treated like horses by pulling carts, wearing ears, saddles, and hooves, is a specific fetish. Carrie P. created the Pony flag in 2007. To represent solidarity with the leather community, the flag uses predominantly black.
The Straight Ally Flag
This flag is for those who are straight but desire to support the LGBT community. The colorful triangle and black and white striped background symbolizes inclusion and has a place for everyone at Pride marches. It celebrates the sexuality of others.