THE RAINBOW FLAG, THE UNIVERSAL SYMBOL OF THE DIVERSE WORLDWIDE LGBT+ COMMUNITY, FIRST FLEW AT THE SAN FRANCISCO GAY AND LESBIAN FREEDOM PARADE IN 1978, THE YEAR WHEN HARVEY MILK WAS ELECTED TO OFFICE.
Looking to replace the Pink Triangle (with its associations to the Nazis’ horrific treatment of LGBT+ people) Milk asked artist Gilbert Baker to come up with a more positive symbol.
The flag was Baker’s idea and originally displayed eight stripes, each one representing one aspect of our community: pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sun, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for spirit.
So popular was the flag that Baker decided to have it mass-produced, but removed the pink as that was not a commercially available colour, and the indigo was replaced with royal blue. A further change came when the violet was removed to make the colours symmetrical when they were hung along the Pride Parade route.
So the Rainbow Flag has constantly evolved. Today we proudly wave the Progress Pride Flag, designed in 2018 by Daniel Quasar and which now incorporates five chevrons: pink, light blue and white to represent the transgender community, and black and brown for people of colour.
And even now the Flag is developing. Recently designer Valentino Vecchietti has added the intersex flag – yellow with a purple circle in the centre – to the Pride flag.
The LGBT+ community is so diverse that, apart from the Rainbow and Progress flags, below are just some of the others that we still wave with Pride.
No matter which Flag you wave, wave it high, and wave it proud!
THE BEAR PRIDE FLAG
Celebrating the gay bear community, this flag was designed in 1995 by Craig Brynes.
THE BISEXUAL PRIDE FLAG
Championing the “B” in “LGBT” and designed in 1998.
THE LEATHER PRIDE FLAG
If you’re into the leather, fetish and other scenes then this is the proud flag for you.
THE TRANSGENDER PRIDE FLAG
Blue for trans boys, pink for trans girls, and white for those who are transitioning or intersex.
THE ASEXUAL PRIDE FLAG
For those of us who don’t feel any sexual attraction to others.
THE INTERSEX PRIDE FLAG
Designed in 2013 the yellow background and purple circle represent hermaphrodite colours.
THE LESBIAN PRIDE FLAG
There’s no one official lesbian Pride flag, but this is the most widely used. It was created in 2010 but the original has a pair of “lipstick lesbian” lips in the top left corner, before some people criticised it for being “butch-phobic”.