Have you ever seen a Pride flag and wondered what it means? While the Rainbow Pride Flag (which has since been updated to the Progress Pride Flag) has been around for quite some time, some of the other flags are much newer and may not be as recognizable.
Each of these distinct colourful flags represent a different facet of the LGBTQ2S+ community. Donning bright stripes, the flags have different variations to symbolize the experiences of different groups, from those who identify as transgender to those who identify as asexual. These different flags provide us with the opportunity to recognize and show support to each of the communities they represent.
Note: It’s important to note that some of these flags aren’t definitive, and many communities have multiple different flags that represent the same group.
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@slicedotca We love inclusive flags ✨🌈 #prideflags #bipride #transpride #gaypride #acepride ♬ hymn for the weekend x she knows by altegomusic – ALTÉGO
The University of Colorado offers up definitions of each of the different Pride flags, so we’ve broken down the history of 10 of those flags.
Rainbow Pride Flag
This is the Pride flag that started it all. Gilbert Baker – who had been tasked by historic LGBTQ2S+ activist Harvey Milk – created a rainbow flag with eight different colours in 1977. Inspired by the beloved The Wizard Of Oz track “Over The Rainbow,” the flag symbolizes “something that was positive, that celebrated our love.”
Each of the eight colours have meanings. Pink, red, orange and yellow symbolize sex, life, healing and sunlight respectively, while green, turquoise, indigo and violet symbolize nature, magic and art, serenity and the spirit of LGBTQ2S+ people. Often, these eight colours aren’t all depicted in modern versions of the flag, which usually made up of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.
Progress Pride Flag
Daniel Quasar created the Progress Pride Flag in 2018 in response to Philadelphia’s updated version of the Rainbow Pride Flag, which included a brown stripe and a black stripe to give representation to people of colour in the LGBTQ2S+ community.
The Progress Pride Flag includes the black and brown stripes in addition to pink, white and blue to represent the Transgender Pride Flag. There’s also a nod to the Intersex Pride Flag, with the yellow triangle that contains a purple circle. This updated version of the original rainbow edition has an arrow pointing to the right “to show forward movement, while being along the left edge shows that progress still needs to be made,” according to the Progress Pride Flag’s Kickstarter.
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Transgender Pride Flag
Created by a transgender navy veteran, Monica Helms, in 1999, the Transgender Pride Flag features two blue stripes, two pink stripes and a white stripe. While the light pink and light blue correspond to colours that are commonly used to signify girls and boys, the white stripe in the middle represents people that are intersex, transitioning, are gender neutral or don’t identify with any gender.
The Genderqueer Pride Flag aims to represent people who have a gender identity that does not fit within the male/female binary. Created by Marilyn Roxie in June of 2011, the flag was made to encourage visibility for the genderqueer community.
Originally, it was supposed to represent all non-binary and genderqueer people, but as the community grew, the flag began to solely represent those who identify as genderqueer. As a result, the Non-Binary Flag came to be.
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Non-Binary Pride Flag
Kye Rowan designed the Non-Binary Pride Flag back in 2014. The yellow, purple, white and black flag represents those who have a gender identity that does not fall within the traditional male and female binary.
Each of the four colours stands for a different subgroup of people that identify as non-binary. Yellow signifies those that identify outside of the cisgender binary, while white stands for multi-gendered people. Purple represents those who identify as a blend of male and female genders, and black stands for people who identify as agender. Some non-binary and genderqueer people use gender-neutral pronouns like “they/them” or “ze/zir.”
Lesbian Pride Flag
While there have been several different iterations of the Lesbian Pride Flag over the years, the most commonly used version was made by Emily Gwen and it aims to represent the entire spectrum of lesbian identities.
Often, the Lesbian Pride Flag features five colours in different shades of red, orange, white and pink. The warm flag aims to celebrate inclusivity and gender nonconformity.
Bisexual Pride Flag
Designed by Michael Page, the Bisexual Pride Flag is made up of pink, purple and blue. The pink signifies an attraction to people of the same gender, the purple stands for an attraction to multiple genders and the blue stands for an attraction to people who identify as a different gender. The Bisexual Pride Flag is pretty distinct and is known as one of the oldest Pride Flags, dating back to 1988.
Related: 11 ways to be a respectful LGBTQ2S+ ally.
Pansexual Pride Flag
The Pansexual Pride Flag dates back to around 2010. Symbolizing those who do not see their attraction to be limited by certain genders, the flag was created to be distinctly different from the bisexual flag. Where pansexuality revolves around people who are emotionally or physically attracted to all genders, bisexuality is technically defined as people who are emotionally or physically attracted to two genders. Over the years, the definition of bisexuality has evolved beyond the binary, according to NBC News.
While the Pansexual Pride Flag still boasts three different colours, this flag features a hot pink, bright yellow and ocean blue. The pink stands for an attraction to those who identify as female, the blue signifies an attraction to those who identify as male and the yellow symbolizes anyone who doesn’t identify on the male-female binary (i.e. people who identify as genderqueer, nonbinary, agender, androgynous, etc.)
Polysexual Pride Flag
Similar to bisexuality and pansexuality, polysexuality falls under the multisexual umbrella. Polysexual signifies someone who is sexually attracted to more than one gender, but not all of them.
The Polysexual Pride Flag draws inspiration from the Bisexual Pride Flag and the Pansexual Pride Flag, using the blue and pink stripes but swapping out the purple and yellow for a green stripe.
Asexual Pride Flag
This purple, grey, white and black flag represents those who identify as asexual – which is a lack of sexual attraction to all genders – or those find themselves somewhere along the asexual spectrum. The flag came to be after the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) held a contest to create a Pride flag for those who identify as asexual.
The winning design uses black to represent asexuality, grey to signify asexuality and demi-sexuality, white to symbolize non-asexual partners and allies and purple to represent community.
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