There are so many flags denoted to the LGBT community nowadays that it can be difficult to properly assess the meaning behind each classification. We’ve decided to break down the meanings and origin of each pride flag for your information.
The gay pride flag was created and designed by gay activist Gilbert Baker in San Francisco in 1978. He decorated the original in the spirit of a rainbow with eight stripes to represent the following: pink for sexuality, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for the sun, green for nature, blue for art, indigo for harmony and violet for spirit.
The 1978 Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day March adopted the flag as a gay symbol. In 1979 following the assassination of Harvey Milk, California’s first openly gay public official, demand for the flag grew. As the flag went in to mass production, a decision was made to drop the hot pink stripe due to the unavailability of hot-pink fabric commercially.
Soon after the 1979 Pride Parade Committee eliminated indigo also so that the flag could divide its colors evenly along the parade route. The revised version with six colourful stripes is now recognized around the world as a universal gay symbol.
The bisexual pride flag was originally designed by Michael Page in 1998 in order to give the bisexual community its own symbol within the larger LGBT community. His primary aim was to increase the visibility of bisexuals, both among society as well as within the LGBT community.
The first bisexual pride flag was initially unveiled at the BiCafe’s first anniversary party on December 5, 1998. While the colours look to represent male and female, the pink actually signifies sexual attraction to the same sex, blue to that of the opposite sex and the overlap of purple to both.
The pansexual pride flag is used to increase visibility and recognition for the pansexual community, and to distinguish it from bisexuality. There is little information as to who created this flag, but it initially rose to prominence in 2010 online.
The blue represents those who identify attraction to the male spectrum (regardless of biological sex), the pink represents attraction to the female spectrum (regardless of biological sex), and the yellow portion represents non-binary attraction; such as androgynous, agender, bigender and genderfluid people.
While many asexual groups have been formed over the years, the most prolific has been Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN), which was founded in 2001 by David Jay. In 2009 the AVEN members walked in their first American pride parade, to support their respective community.
The following year, members of AVEN began work on their own individualised flag after much debate. The members contacted as many asexual communities as possible to collectively fashion a flag to represent their people. The final result had been previously seen and used in many forums outside of AVEN and was voted as the most popular, leading to its creation.
The colours represent: black: Asexuality, grey: demisexuality, white: Sexuality and purple: Community.
The transgender pride flag was created by Monica Helms in 1999, and was first flown at a Pride parade in Phoenix, Arizona the following year. The light blue stripes signify the traditional colour for baby boys, while conversely the pale pink stripes signify the traditional colour for baby girls. The white stripe signifies those who are intersex, transitioning or who identify with a neutral or undefined gender.
While there are different iterations of trans flags, this has become the most commenly used. Several countries have flew the flag during transgender awareness week, and in 2014, Monica Helms donated the original transgender pride flag to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
Created in 1999 by Sean Campbell, the lesbian pride flag has fallen out of popularity in society, with many using the generalised LGBT flag instead.
This flag features a labrys, a double-headed axe associated with early matriarchal Minoan societies and favored by tribes of Amazon warriors. The labrys became popular with lesbian culture in the 1970s, but is no longer of common use.
The black triangle is a throwback to nazi Germany, similar to the pink triangle used by the general gay movement. The black triangle denoted “anti-social” behavior, which included lesbianism.
The Genderqueer Pride flag was created by Marilyn Roxie in 2010 with help from the online Genderqueer community. The lavender is a mix of the traditional blue and pink gender colors for people who comprise of parts of these genders, the green is the inverse of lavender for those who identify outside the binary, and the white represents gender neutrality.
“Genderqueer” is an umbrella term for people who doesn’t feel like they fit into one of the two standard gender definitions. The flag is for those who do not have a particular set gender, encompassing elements of binary, trans, fluid and androgynous peoples.
Different from genderqueer, genderfluid is a term for people whose gender shifts over time. Their gender identity can vary at random or in response to different circumstances. Gender fluid people may identify as male, female, multigender, non-binary or transgender.
The flag was created by JJ Poole, and the colours represent the various states that genderfluid people may find themselves in – pink for feminine, blue for masculine, purple for a mix of the two, white for no gender, and black for all genders.
The intersex flag was debuted by OII Australia in July 2013 as a rallying point for Intersex people. The colours yellow and purple were chosen because they’re seen as fairly gender neutral – neither pink nor blue. The circle symbolises wholeness or completeness.
Previous to this design a striped flag was used as an Intersex Pride symbol. This flag was somewhat controversial in the Intersex community, as many complained that it was too close to the Transgender Pride flag and that it had also been intended to represent “Bigender” peoples. Intersex is distinctly different from Transgender or Bigender, so a distinctly different flag was designed.
Agender is a term for individuals that have either no gender identity, or are gender neutral. While it is seen as a subsect of transgender and nonbinary, it is also its own umbrella term for a larger list of identities.
The official flag was created in 2014 with black and white colours, but was later updated by a web user with stripes of grey and green. The colour meanings are as follows: black is for absence of gender, grey is for partial gender, and green is for nonbinary gender, as green is the inverse of lavender (a mixture of pink and blue, meaning a mix of female and male).
In the acronym LGBTQIA, the A is often commonly used for “ally”. In reference to this, the group of straight LGBT advocates decided to create their own flag to show their support for the community. Why they need their own flag is questionable but nonetheless in 2000 the flag arose.
While the origins are unknown, the design features a rainbow ‘A’- shape to symbolise gay allyship, on a black and white striped background, representing the straight section.
Of course gay people can’t do anything without straight people protesting and quickly following suit. In a way to ridicule, or revolt, or feel included, who even knows? Straight people decided to create their own flag.
Pulling on the imagination of LGBT members they decided to copy the gay flag but changed all the colours to black, white and grey to symbolise who knows what. Straight people are the worst right? Just kidding. Not really.