There are a lot of flags associated with the Pride movement. These illustrate the various orientations and identities that people use to represent themselves. Although labels are useful in some circumstances they do not actually define a person but do afford a means of commonality and community for people to find a level of support from others with a similar outlook and experience. The following are some of the most common flags seen at Prides and many of them can be bought as badges in our shop.
In June 1978 at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade the first gay pride flags were flown, replacing the pink triangle which had connotations from the Second World War. Gilbert Baker described this flag as "something beautiful, something from us ..." The colours are not random but do have meanings:
Red for life; orange for healing; yellow for sunlight; green for nature; blue for harmony; purple for spirit; pink for sexuality; turquoise for art or magic.
The original Gilbert Baker flag proved difficult to source all of the colours for and the pink and turquoise were removed leaving the six colour rainbow flag we are all familiar with and which is the most recognisable Pride flag.
The flag has become the universal symbol for all the Pride movements as well as the spectrum of human sexuality and gender.
In 2017 the city of Philadelphia approved a new design of the Pride flag containing the black and brown stripes to bring attention to the LGBT people of colour. It rapidly became adopted around the world helping to give presentation to LGBT people of colour.
This flag has become the standard Pride flag since it was designed in 2018. It incorporates the six rainbow stripes familiar from the previous 40 years but also incorporates black, brown, pale blue and pale pink chevrons together with a white triangle. These represent the marginalised LGBTQ+ communities from the Philadelphia flag together with the colours representing the transgender Pride flag, thus explicitly stating the inclusive nature of the Pride movement. As such it is not replacing or erasing the Pride flag but evolving it into a more inclusive form.
In 2021 the progressive Pride flag was changed again to include the intersex flag. Many intersex people do not accept being included within the umbrella of the transgender identity and as the rainbow evolved into the progress flag it has evolved again into this form. The yellow ground and purple circle of the intersex flag are included as a triangle replacing the white triangle of the progress flag which has now morphed into an additional white chevron.
This flag was designed by Natalie McCray in 2010 to represent lesbians who display a greater amount of traditionally feminine gender attributes - such as wearing makeup, dresses and skirts as opposed to a butch lesbian.
However, the designer was criticized for advocation transphobic and exclusionary ideologies and as such most of the community rejected the flag. The colours are not explained.
Following the controversy associated with the lipstick lesbian flag, the lips were removed and the underlying flag became used as a general lesbian flag. This flag also attracted criticism for not being representative of lesbians who do not align with femininity - some people even find it offensive.
In 2018 the lesbian flag was redesigned yet again and a new orange to pink design was created as a "lesbian flag for everyone" by Emily Gwen. The new flags uses colours which have the meanings from top to bottom: gender non-conformity; independence; community; relationships unique to womanhood; peace and serenity; love and sex; femininity.
Butch lesbians are those that demonstrate a more typically "masculine" gender expression, playing with and exploring traditional binary male and female gender roles and expressions. This design was first created in 2016 as an alternative to the lipstick lesbian flag which was considered to have strong feminine overtones. The colours are once again not explained although the blues are considered by some to represent masculinity and purple lesbian and woman identified people.
In 2017 an alternative design was introduced using shades of orange. These two designs are fairly equal in popularity
A five stripe version of the earlier lesbian design was introduced in 2018.
This flag represents gay men across a broad spectrum including transgender, intersex and gender nonconforming males and many others.
Transgender people are those that have a gender identity that is different to the sex that they were assigned at birth. The transgender flag represents all forms of gender diversity or incongruity although these also have their own flags. The design was created in 1999 by Monica Helms and it first appeared at the Phoenix Pride Parade the following year. The flag has three colours in five bands, the light blue represents male; light pink females; and white those who are transitioning, intersex and those with neutral or indeterminate gender.
Being the same whichever way it is flown it represents that it is always correct showing transgender people finding their own correctness.
Genderfluid people are those that experience gender fluctuations over time, sometimes over periods of months or years, sometimes over hours or days. This flag was designed in 2012 to include all gender identities, these colours represent: pink for feminininity; white for all genders; purple for both femininity and masculinity; black for lack of any gender; blue for masculinity.
This new design appeared in 2021 and the wavy lines and intermediate colours represent the fluidity and change people who are genderfluid experience.
Agender people do not identify with any particular gender. This flag was created in 2014. The colours have the following meanings: black and white for a lack of gender; grey for semi-genderless; and green for nonbinary genders
A nonbinary person is one that is not exclusively male or female, this flag first appeared in 2014 and compliments the genderqueer flag. The colours of this flag represent: yellow for people whose gender is outisde the binary; white for people with all or many genders; purple for people with a mix of female and male; black for people with no gender.
Demigender is an umbrella term for a set of non-binary identities that only experience a partial connection to a particular gender identity. There are specific variations of this flag for demigirl and demiboy identities which replace the yellow with pink and blue respectively. The yellow represents nonbinary identities; white for agender; the shades of grey show fragmentary connections.