LGBTQ+ Flags and What They Symbolise

Happy Pride Month everyone!

In honour of Pride Month, I briefly considered covering an LGBTQ artist/ LGBTQ art. I asked myself, “What is the most well-known LGBTQ art?” The first thing I could think of was the Pride flag. I know it technically doesn’t count as art, but you’ve got to appreciate how the rainbow flag has seeped into mainstream culture.

How much do we really know about the Pride and other LGBTQ flags? Do we know who created them and what they actually mean? Let’s take a look at the meaning and history behind these important symbols.

1.The Pride or Rainbow Flag

Who created it? Gilbert Baker

When? Around 1978

What do the colours symbolise?

The original flag consisted of eight colours and this is what they symbolised (according to Baker):

COLOURMEANING
Hot pinkSex
RedLife
Orange Healing
YellowSunlight
GreenNature
TurquoiseMagic/ Art
IndigoSerenity
VioletSpirit

Interesting facts:

  • Harvey Milk challenged Baker to create a symbol for the gay community when they met in 1974
  • The hot pink section of the flag was removed after it became too difficult to acquire that colour fabric.
  • Some people believe that Baker drew inspiration from the Judy Garland song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. Garland was considered a gay icon.
  • Baker might’ve also drawn inspiration from the Flag of the Races.

2. The Labrys Lesbian Flag

Who created it? Unknown

When? 1999

What does it symbolise?

The labrys (the axe) is an ancient religious symbol. In the 1970’s it was adopted by the lesbian feminist movement to symbolise female empowerment.

The inverted black triangle is the symbol that the Third Reich would make homosexual women wear as a badge in concentration camps. The Nazis believed lesbians to be asocial.

3. The Lipstick Lesbian Flag

Who created it? It was first seen here on the blog “This Lesbian Life”

When? 2010

What does it symbolise? While the designer has not explained why she chose the particular colours, the flag is meant to represent “homosexual women who have a more feminine gender expression”.

4. Bisexual Pride

Who created it? Michael Page

When? 1998

What do the colours symbolise?

COLOURMEANING
PinkSexual attraction to the same sex
BlueSexual attraction to the opposite sex
Purple (overlap of pink and blue)Sexual attraction to both sexes

Interesting facts:

  • Page described the reasoning behind the overlap of the pink and blue colours: “…the purple pixels of color blend unnoticeably into both the pink and blue, just as in the ‘real world,’ where bi people blend unnoticeably into both the gay/lesbian and straight communities.”
  • The ratio of the colours is not fixed but it is usually 2:1:2

5. Transgender Flag

Who created it? Monica Helms

When? 1999

What do the colours symbolise?

COLOURMEANING
BlueThe traditional colour for baby boys
PinkThe traditional colour for baby girls
WhiteNon-binary people, who feel that they do not have a gender

Interesting fact:

  • Helms designed the flag in such a way that it is correct no matter which way you fly it. This is meant to echo the sentiment of trans people finding correctness in their lives.

6. Pansexual Flag

Who created it? Unknown

When? Mid-2010

What do the colours symbolise?

COLOURMEANING
PinkWomen
YellowNon-binary gender
BlueMen

Interesting Fact:

  • Some pansexual flags have a ‘P’ symbol on them. The P has been modified to incorporate features from the Venus/female symbol and the Mars/male symbol.

7. Non-binary Flag

Who created it? Kye Rowan

When? 2014

What do the colours symbolise?

COLOURMEANING
YellowThose who identify outside of the gender binary
WhiteNon-binary people with multiple genders
PurpleThose with a mixture of both male and female genders
BlackAgender people

8. Asexual Flag

Who created it? A user named standup, on the website AVEN.

When? 2010

What do the colours symbolise?

COLOURMEANING
BlackAsexuality
GreyGrey-asexuality and demisexuality*
WhiteAllies
PurpleCommunity

*Grey asexuality is the spectrum between asexuality and sexuality, demisexuality is when a person does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone.

9. Intersex Flag

Who created it? Intersex Human Rights Australia (IHRA)

When? 2013

What does it symbolise? The IHRA describes yellow and purple as “hermaphrodite colours”. The circle is meant to symbolise wholeness and completeness.


We hope you had as much fun reading this post as we had researching it. Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Have a safe and happy Pride Month!

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