Rainbow Pride flags held by people at a parade

LGBTQIA+ Flags & What They Stand For

Everyone has their own personal story and reason for using or feeling represented by a pride flag. For some people it can give them a feeling of belonging, for others it's their way of coming out. For others it's their way to show their support for the LGBTQIA+ community.


Outplay - LGBTQ Gilbert Baker rainbow flag


The rainbow flag everyone knows today was created in 1978 by Gilbert Baker. An artist, designer, Vietnam War veteran and then-drag performer. Baker was commissioned to create a flag by politician Harvey Milk, for San Francisco’s annual pride parade.

The most commonly used image for the flourishing gay rights movement was the pink triangle. The pink triangle was a symbol used by the Nazis to identify homosexuals. Using a symbol with such a dark and painful past was never an option for Baker. Baker instead opted to use the much more joyous and positive rainbow as his inspiration. The different colors within the flag were meant to represent togetherness. LGBTQ+ people come in all races, ages and genders, and rainbows are both natural and beautiful.

The original flag featured seven colors, each one with its own meaning and significance.  Red for life, orange for healing, yellow signifying sunlight, green for nature, turquoise to represent art, indigo for harmony, and violet at the bottom for spirit.

Original LGBTQ+ Rainbow Flag


Hot pink wasn't included in the fabrication of the original flags because the fabric was hard to find. In 1979, the flag was modified again. Aiming to decorate the streetlamps along the parade route with hundreds of rainbow banners, Gilbert Baker decided to split the motif in two with an even number of stripes flanking each lamp pole. To achieve this effect, he dropped the turquoise stripe that had been used in the seven-stripe flag. The result was the six-stripe version of the flag that would become the standard for future production.



Philadelphia Pride Flag


The Philadelphia Pride Flag came out in response to the demand of more inclusivity across the LGBTQ+ community. Adding the black and brown stripes symbolizing people of color, who historically weren't always included in may aspects of the gay rights movement. The flag was first used in 2017 as part of the "More Color More Pride" Campaign in Philadelphia and was designed by a small Philly-based PR agency.



Transgender Pride Flag


The Transgender Flag was first created in 1999 by a transgender woman by the name of Monica Helms. Light blue and pink are featured because they’re the traditional colors associated with baby boys and girls, respectively. The white stands for those who are intersex, transitioning or those who don´t feel identified with any gender.



Nonbinary Flag


The Nonbinary Pride Flag was designed by Kyle Rowan in 2014 in order to represent people whose gender identity does not fit within the traditional male/female binary. The colors of the nonbinary flag are yellow, white, purple, and black. 

Yellow signifies something on its own or people who identify outside of the cisgender binary of male or female. A cisgender person is a person whose gender identity matches their sex assigned at birth. White, a color that consists of all colors mixed, stands for multi-gendered people. Purple, like 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, who feel they do not have a gender.


Modern Inclusive LGBTQ Rainbow Pride Flag


 In 2017 Daniel Quasar designed the Progress Pride Flag which integrates many of these flags into one. It was redesigned to place a greater emphasis on “inclusion and progression.” Today's pride flag now includes stripes to represent the experiences of people of color, as well as stripes to represent people who identify as transgender, gender nonconforming and/or undefined.

There are over 50 recognized flags among the LGBTQ+ community today, each representing different gender identities and sexual orientations. All though most LGBTQ+ individuals also identify with the Rainbow Flag, many want to have their own individual flag as well. "Flags say something. You put a rainbow flag on your windshield, and you're saying something." 




How Did the Rainbow Flag Become an LGBT Symbol?
LGBTQ+ Pride Flags and What They Stand For
50 Different LGBTQ Flags And Meanings Behind Them!

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