It’s Pride Month, and while we won’t be seeing any Pride Marches this year (thanks, corona!), that shouldn’t stop us from standing up for equality and recognizing the struggles of our friends in the LGBT+ community. The first step to doing that is understanding the different identities that fall under the LGBT+ umbrella. Just take a look at the most commonly used pride flags (besides the rainbow) and what they mean.
The Bisexual Pride Flag
Designed in 1998 by Florida-based activist Michael Page, the bisexual flag is based on the biangles, the origin of which is unknown. The colors of the flag have two possible interpretations:
- A thick magenta stripe at the top could mean either homosexual attraction (gay and lesbian) or attraction to women;
- A thick blue stripe at the bottom could mean sexual attraction to the opposite sex only (straight) or attraction to men;
- And a thin purple stripe in the middle representing the overlap of those sexual attractions, or sexual attraction to both sexes (bi).
Page explains that the purple stripe blends into the blue and magenta stripes because bisexual people often “blend noticeably into both the gay/lesbian and straight communities.”
The Asexual Pride Flag
Asexuality is defined by a lack of sexual attraction, but it also falls in a spectrum. Some people identify as “gray-asexuals” or “gray ace”, which means they feel sexual attraction, but only rarely, and usually under specific circumstances.
The asexual flag was created in 2010 to help raise awareness of the asexual community:
- The black stripe represents asexuality;
- The gray stripe represents gray-asexuals and demisexuals;
- The white stripe represents allies or sexuality;
- The purple stripe represents community.
The Pansexual Pride Flag
Pansexuals are people who are attracted to all gender identities, and the pansexual pride flag, which became widely used in 2010, reflects that:
- The pink stripe denotes attraction to women;
- The blue stripe denotes attraction to men;
- And the yellow stripe denotes attraction to all other (i.e. non-binary) genders.
Lesbian Pride Flag
There actually isn’t a widely-used lesbian pride flag, but the 2018 version (see above) created by Tumblr blogger Emily Gwen has seven stripes with distinct meanings:
- Dark orange for gender non-conformity;
- Orange for independence;
- Light orange for community;
- White for unique relationships to womanhood;
- Pink for serenity and peace;
- Dusty pink for love and sex;
- And dark rose for femininity.
Intersex Pride Flag
Intersex people are those who were born either without male or female biological characteristics or exhibit a combination of both. Created in 2013 by Morgan Carpenter from Intersex Human Rights Australia (IHRA), the intersex flag consists of a purple circle in with a yellow background. Yellow and purple are meant to represent “hermaphrodite” colors.
“The circle is unbroken and unornamented, symbolizing wholeness and completeness, and our potentialities,” explains IHRA on their website. “We are still fighting for bodily autonomy and genital integrity, and this symbolizes the right to be who and how we want to be.”
Transgender Pride Flag
Created by transgender woman Monica Helms in 1999, the transgender pride flag has colors that are associated with the traditional colors for baby boys and girls:
- The top and bottom stripes are light blue, or the traditional color for baby boys;
- The light pink stripes are the traditional color for baby girls;
- The white stripes are for people who don’t identify with a particular gender.
The flag is intentionally designed so that it’s correct no matter which way you fly it. “This symbolizes us trying to find correctness in our own lives,” Helms explains.
Non-Binary Pride Flag
Non-binary people identify with a spectrum of gender identities that don’t fall outside the gender binary, or the exclusively masculine or feminine. Created in 2014 by activist Kye Rowan, the non-binary flag’s colors represent the different kinds of non-binary identities:
- A yellow stripe for people who identify outside of the gender binary;
- A white stripe for non-binary people with multiple genders;
- A purple stripe for those with a mixture of both male and female genders;
- And a black stripe for agender people, or people who don’t identify with a particular gender.
Polysexual Pride Flag
A polysexual person is someone who is sexually attracted to many — but, unlike pansexuals, not all — genders. People who use the polysexual label often prefer it to the term bisexual as they feel that bisexual reinforces dichotomies.
This flag, designed by Tumblr user Samlin in 2012, are based on the bisexual and pansexual flags:
- Pink represents attraction to women;
- Green represents attraction to people outside the gender binary;
- Blue represents attraction to men.
Of course, because there are so many ways to express gender and sexuality, these aren’t the only flags out there. There are so many other flags used in the LGBT+ community, and we won’t be surprised if we see new ones cropping up in the next couple of years. These flags are only scratching the surface of gender and sexual identity, but it’s a good place to start.
Which of these flags did you just learn about now? Tell us all about it in the comments!