An introduction to LGBTQ+ flags

We have put together a list of some of the LGBTQ+ flags, where they came from and what they represent.

Keep reading to learn about the history of the flags and more.

Why are there different flags in the LGBTQ+ community?

There are numerous flags used in the LGBTQ+ community to represent various sexual orientations and preferences, gender identities, romantic orientation, and subcultures.

It embodies the many aspects of the LGBTQ+ community by having different flags that represent different things.

LGBTQ+ flags, like country flags, all have meaning. Each colour represents and means something different.

The history of the original LGBT flag

The “original” LGBT flag, also known as the rainbow flag or the pride flag, is a six-coloured striped flag with red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.

The LGBT rainbow flag history dates back to 1987, when Gilbert Baker designed it, but it has since been modified.

Gilbert Baker became involved in the LGBT flag’s creation after meeting influential gay leader Harvey Milk, who challenged Baker to create a representative flag for the community.

Prior to the creation of the pride flag, the pink triangle (Trigger Warning) was used to represent the LGBT community. This symbol had a dark history, as Nazis used it to identify men as homosexuals in concentration camps.

As Arthur J. Bressan put it, the new LGBT flag represented “the dawn of a new gay consciousness and freedom”. Originally, there were eight different coloured stripes – each with its own meaning.

  • Pink – Sex
  • Red – Life
  • Orange – Healing
  • Yellow – Sunlight
  • Green – Nature
  • Turquoise – Magic/Art
  • Indigo – Serenity
  • Violet – Spirit

According to rumour, the rainbow theme was inspired by the Hippie movement, Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow,” and other influences.

Exploring all LGBTQ+ flags

As time has passed and the LGBT community has grown, new variations of the LGBT flag have emerged to represent the subcultures within the community.

Take a look at our LGBT flags list below to see who they represent and what they mean.

It is important to note that there are many other flags for the LGBT community, as well as many variations of the flags.

Bisexual flag

The bisexual flag was designed by Michael Page, an LGBTQ activist, in 1998. Page discovered that many members of the bi+ community did not feel they could connect with the traditional rainbow flag, so set out to create a flag with symbols that the community could relate to.

The top 40% of the bisexual flag is pink, the middle 20% is purple, and the bottom 40% is blue. The colours, like the majority of LGBT flags, have meaning.

The different colours on this flag represent the appeal to multiple genders. Pink represents homosexual attraction, blue represents attraction to various genders, and the overlapping purple colour represents attraction regardless of sex or gender.

Pansexual flag

Pansexuals are attracted to people regardless of their gender identity. In 2010, the pansexual community received its own flag in order to raise awareness and distinguish between pansexual and bisexual people.

The pansexual flag has three equal parts of pink, yellow and blue.

  • Pink represents an attraction to those who identify as female or feminine.
  • Yellow represents an attraction to those who identify as agender, non-binary, genderqueer, or who don’t have a specific identification.
  • Blue represents an attraction to those who identify as male or masculine.

Asexual flag

Similarly, to the pansexual flag, the asexual community got their own flag in 2010.

The flag is split into four equal sections of black, grey, white and purple.

  • Black represents asexuality as a whole.
  • Gray represents gray-asexuality and demisexuality.
  • White represents non-asexual partners and allies.
  • Purple represents community.

Lesbian flag

The lesbian flag comes in several variations, but the most common one features various shades of pink, white, and red. However, many people believe that this flag only represents ‘femme’ lesbians and is therefore not supportive of masculine-presenting lesbians.

One of the most recent lesbian flags incorporates shades of orange and white to represent all members of the lesbian community. This includes transgender women and those who do not identify with a gender.

  • Dark orange/red represents gender non-conformity.
  • Orange represents independence.
  • Light orange represents community.
  • White represents unique relationships to womanhood.
  • Light pink represents serenity and peace.
  • Darker pink represents love and sex.
  • The purple/plum represents femininity.

Intersex flag

The intersex flag represents those who feel connected to the intersex community. Morgan Carpenter designed the flag for the first time in July 2013. The flag’s design goal was to be “not derivative but firmly grounded in meaning”.

The colours yellow and purple were chosen because they are thought to be free of gender associations.

The flag has a yellow background with a purple circle shape in the centre, which represents wholeness and unbrokenness.

Transgender flag

Monica Helms, an American transgender woman, designed the Trans Pride flag in 1999. The stripes on the flag are light blue, pink, and white.

The light blue and pink were chosen as the traditional colours for representing baby genders, while the white represents a neutral or undefined gender.

According to Helms, the flag is symmetrical so that “no matter which way you fly it, it is always correct, signifying us finding correctness in our lives”.

Genderfluid flag

JJ Poole created the genderfluid flag in 2012. It has five stripes, which are pink, blue, purple, black and white. There are alternative versions of the flag that have symbols to emphasise the message.

  • Pink represents femininity.
  • White represents all genders.
  • Purple represents both masculinity and femininity.
  • Black represents the lack of gender.
  • Blue represents masculinity.

Nonbinary pride flag

Kyle Rowan created the nonbinary pride flag in 2014. The flag has horizontal stripes of yellow, white, purple and black.

The flag was created to represent nonbinary people who did not resonate with the other flags in the LGBTQ+ community.

  • Yellow represents people who identify outside of the gender binary.
  • White represents people in all the genders.
  • Purple represents people with genders that are a mix of female and male.
  • Black represents those who do not identify with a specific gender.

Ally pride flag

There is no known date or origin for when the ally pride flag was created, but it is thought to have been in the late 2000s. This flag represents heterosexual/cisgender individuals who actively support the LGBTQ+ community.

The flag consists of black and white stripes with an “A” shape in the middle in the colours of the Rainbow LGBTQ+ flag.

The importance of having LGBTQ+ knowledge in your workplace

Although we have covered some of the flags in this article, there are many variations of all LGBTQ+ flags. All of these flags, from the original LGBT rainbow flag to the new and updated versions, carry a message and represent a group of people.

If you’re going to display a flag in your workplace in support of the LGBTQ+ community, we would recommend the new pride flag. The new flag has been redesigned to incorporate elements from various LGBTQ+ subcultures.

The following are the various meanings of the new flag:

  • Red represents life.
  • Orange represents healing.
  • Yellow represents new ideas.
  • Green represents prosperity.
  • Blue represents serenity.
  • Violet represents spirit.
  • Black/Brown represents people of colour.
  • White/Blue/Pink represents the trans community.
  • The yellow with a purple circle represents intersex people.

It is critical to understand the history of the LGBTQ+ community. Whether you’re a member of the community yourself, or are attempting to be an ally, understanding what the flags represent is an important part of the learning process.

Having LGBTQ+ flags on display can mean a lot more to the community than you might think. If you own a public business, having stickers in windows or flags on the outside of cafes, bars, and restaurants can indicate a safe and supportive environment.

In today’s climate, having a safe and welcoming place to go is critical, especially for the trans community. You can make the LGBTQ+ community feel more at ease by displaying your support.

You can help people in the workplace by learning more about the community and broadening your knowledge.

If you’re a member, take a look at our LGBTQ+ resources.

If you’re not yet a member, but are interested in learning how to support the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace, get in touch today.