Did you know there are over 20 different flags associated with Pride Month? Although the Rainbow flag is the most common recognized, as it was created as the symbol for the LGBTQ+ community, it is not the only flag people in the community connect with. Here is a look at some of the most widely used flags during Pride Month.
The Gilbert Rainbow Pride Flag
The first rainbow flag was created in 1978 for the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day by local activist Gilbert Baker.
City Supervisor Harvey Milk, and others, approached Baker with an offer to create a new symbol for unifying the LGBTQ+ community that would be unveiled at the celebration that June.
Baker's flashy drag costumes and colorful political banners quickly gained him a reputation for not only his sewing skills but flamboyant sense of style.
He used this love of color to establish meaning in the design.
His vision: to create a flag that would empower his “tribe” using a “rainbow of humanity” assigning meaning to every color.
His inspiration: Somewhere over the rainbow from The Wizard of Oz (which also inspired our float in this year’s pride parade)
With the help from friends Lynn Segerblom (Faerie Argyle Rainbow), James McNamara, Glenne McElhinney, Joe Duran and Paul Langlotz, Baker created the first design at a whopping 30 ft high by 60 ft wide. Revisions were required due to the significant cost and display concerns. Then in 1979 changes were once again made to the Baker flag resulting in the six-stripe flag.
The 6 Stripe Rainbow Pride Flag
One of the most well-known, and widely used LGBTQ+ flags throughout history has been the six stripe flag.
In 1979, the Baker flag underwent its second round of revisions when the hot pink stripe was removed due to unavailability of the flag fabric in that color. Baker then decided to also remove the turquoise stripe so as to have an even number of stripes. These changes left us with the most commonly used, six-stripe rainbow flag.
The Philadelphia Pride Flag
During the Early 2000s and 2010s the LGBTQ+ community saw a push for more representation and inclusivity. This push brought about the “More Color More Pride” Campaign at the 2017 Philadelphia Parade where the, now known as, Philadelphia Pride Flag was debuted.
The Philadelphia Pride Flag includes the addition of a Black and Brown Stripe. These stripes represent the people of color who often were not represented in the queer community.
The Transgender Flag
In 1999, a transgender woman named Monica Helms created the first Transgender Flag. Like the pride flags that came before, she designed the flag with very specific colors in mind:
White: for those transitioning or those
who don't identify as either
The Nonbinary Pride Flag
The nonbionary flag was created in 2014 by Kye Rowan. The colors, yellow white, purple and black were all selected to represent different subgroups of people who identify as nonbionary:
Yellow: people who identify outside of the cisgender male and female.
White: multi-gendered people
Purple: people who identify as a blending of male and female genders
Black: those who feel they do not have a gender.
The Intersex Flag
In 2013 Morgan Carpenter created the current yellow and purple intersex flag, however this was not the first. The flag had already undergone a number of iterations before adopting its current look. Previous versions of the flag embraced aspects of the transgender flag while others used variations of the popular rainbow designed flags.
"The flag is comprised of a golden yellow field, with a purple circle emblem. The colors and circle don’t just avoid referencing gender stereotypes, like the colors pink and blue, they seek to completely avoid use of symbols that have anything to do with gender at all. Instead, the circle is unbroken and unornamented, symbolizing wholeness and completeness, and our potentialities. We are still fighting for bodily autonomy and genital integrity, and this symbolizes the right to be who and how we want to be," Carpenter wrote.
The Bisexual Pride Flag
Created in 1998 by Michael Page, the flag uses three horizontal stripes, two larger stripes of pink (top) and blue (bottom) with a thin purple band in between. The idea was to depict the “blending” of pink and blue to illustrate how bisexual individuals “blend” into both the straight and queer communities. Additionally, the colors symbolizes gender attraction:
Pink: same gender
Purple: two or more genders
Blue: to a different gender
The Pansexual Flag
Pansexuality and bisexuality are two very different things which is why in 2010 the pansexual flag was created. Pansexual do not see their attraction as limited by gender or genders. This means they can be attracted to those who identify as women, men, both or neither.
Pink: attraction to women
Yellow: attraction to those who do not identify as either gender
Blue: attraction to mean
The Lesbian Community Flag
Both the lesbian and gay men’s flags are among the lesser known pride flags.
Designed in 2010 by Natalie McCray, the lesbian flag originally was seen with a large lipstick kiss in the corner. The kiss mark was later removed because the flag was received in the community as butch-phobic.
The since modified version represents:
Dark orange: gender non conformity
Light orange: community
White: unique relationships to womanhood
Light pink: serenity and peace
Medium pink: love and sex
Dark pink: femininity
The Gay Men Pride Flag
Much like the lesbian flag, the gay men’s flag has undergone a number of alterations. The original flag was depicted using a variety of blue tones. This was seen as problematic throughout the community since it utilized stereotypical gender binary colors. The new flag was created in response to this feedback and now depicts broader inclusivity with representation not limited to transgender individuals, intersex, and nonconforming men.
Straight Ally Pride Flag
The straight ally flag was created during the late 2010s. This flag was created to
acknowledge the allies who support the LGBTQ+ community in their fight for representation and equality.
Rainbow “A”: straight support for the Gay Pride Movement
Modern Pride Flag or Progress Pride Flag The LGBTQ+ community is ever evolving. Daniel Quasar’s design for the adopted modern pride flag places a stronger emphasis on inclusion throughout the LGBTQ+ community. This flag utilizes the pink, blue and white of the transgender flag to include the transgender and nonconforming. The flag also utilizes black and brown stripes to represent people of color, but also those who are living with HIV/AIDS those who have passed away from the virus, and the stigma still surrounding HIV/AIDS to this day.