Know The (Many) Different Pride Flags!

As we approach June and Gay Pride month, I began to think about the gay Pride rainbow flag and how much it meant to me and how many times I have marched with one in my hand or held an equally fabulous rainbow banner. I pride (pun intended) myself on knowing my gay history. Plus working in Queer media I think I am knowledgeable about the LGBTQ community. I knew there were more pride flags than the 6-striped ROY-GBP , but imagine my surprise when researching for this article, I found out there are more than 20 different pride flags to represent different factions of our community!  

I decided to give myself a little quiz, scrolling down each flag I would see if knew which flag was which before looking at the answer. I FAILED SPECTACULARLY! (As a former high school English teacher for over 15 years, failing a test was unacceptable, lol)

Wanna test your own knowledge? Scroll down, as you see a flag, see if you know what it represents. Don’t scroll too far down and cheat and peek at the answer! GOOD LUCK INSTINCTERS! 

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This first one should have been an easy one, don’t want to start the quiz off too hard. Yes this is the Traditional Pride Flag. Six colored stripes each with their own meaning. This flag was adopted in 1979, two years after the rainbow flag was created.

Did you notice something different between the flag and the list of colors/meanings above? That’s because the original rainbow flag created by the beloved Gilbert Baker, a personal gay hero of mine had EIGHT stripes. The pink stripe was removed in 1978, most likely because that color material is difficult to find and cost more. In 1978 the turquoise stripe was cut as well, most likely for the same reasons. Fewer colors made the flag easier to make and to display.

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This is the original Gilbert Baker Pride Flag. Gay icon, activist and politician Harvey Milk challenged his friend Baker to create a symbol for the LGBTQ community. The flag made its debut on June 25, 1978 at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade. A few months later Harvey Milk was assassinated. 

myself and my friend Michael Walsh. June 14, 2017.
June 14, 2017

I was lucky enough and honored to hold one of Gilbert Baker’s original rainbow flag banners. Baker passed away in March 2017 and on June 14, 2017 there was a memorial and a march in his honor from The Stonewall Inn to the Christopher Street Piers in New York City. Both the banner I am holding and the flag were personally made by Baker and have all eight stripes. Rest in Power Gilbert Baker. Back to the quiz…


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If you guessed the Progress Pride Flag, give yourself a point! As the world evolved so has the gay community. Many are adopting this flag to represent the entire LGBTQIA+ community, in the recent push for inclusivity. In addition to the six colored stripes, five more colors were added. As mentioned in Them, “there are many more Pride flags than just the rainbow version created in the 1970s. Today, you’re likely to see a version designed by Daniel Quasar that adds a triangular chevron to one side, with colors honoring the trans community as well as people of color.”  You might also see this next flag being waved proudly, especially if you live in Pennsylvania..


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Answer: Philadelphia Pride Flag. According to Vox, “for Pride Month, Philly added two colors — black and brown — to the existing pride flag, and hoisted it outside City Hall.  The colors, according to the Philadelphia Office of LGBT Affairs’ ‘More Color More Pride’ campaign, represent inclusion of people of color in the LGBTQ community.

“In 1978, artist Gilbert Baker designed the original rainbow flag,” the campaign states. “So much has happened since then. A lot of good, but there’s more we can do. Especially when it comes to recognizing people of color in the LGBTQ+ community. To fuel this important conversation, we’ve expanded the colors of the flag to include black and brown.”


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Add another point to your score if you said – Transgender Flag. Created in 1999 by transgender Navy veteran Monica Helms the light blue and light pink represent boys and girls. {Those are traditional ‘baby’ colors of those two genders.} The white colors represent the intersex community, those with a neutral or undefined gender, and people transitioning from one gender to another.


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This is one of the few ones I got right! Even though there are three colors, this is the Bisexual flag. Reader’s Digest explained that, “the pink represents attraction to those of the same gender identity, while the blue stands for attraction to people who identify as a different gender. The purple stripe in the middle symbolizes attraction to two genders.”


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Stumping me, this one is the Genderfluid flag. As the word fluid would suggest, this flag represents those who gender can fluctuate at different times throughout their life. It also represents those whose gender identity or expression is fluid. Five colors – pink (feminity), white (lack of gender), purple (both masculine and feminine combined), blue (masculinity) and black (any gender on the spectrum.)


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Representing the Polyamory community, give yourself a point if you answered correctly! Polyamory by definition is the practice of engaging in multiple romantic (and typically sexual) relationships, with the consent of all the people involved. “The background of the flag has three stripes: blue (representing the openness and honesty of all parties involved in the relationships), red (love and passion), and black (solidarity with those who must hide their polyamorous relationships from the outside world).” – Readers Digest.


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We can’t leave out the ladies! And yes, this is the Lesbian Pride flag. While there are several different versions of this flag, one with lipstick, others with more pink or red colors. Though no one flag has yet to be adopted widely by the Lesbian community, this one is the most used.


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You might see this flag flying during Dore Alley in San Francisco or MAL weekend in Washington DC. Yep you guessed it, the Leather Pride flag. The flag was designed by Tony DeBlase in 1989 and debuted at The International Mr. Leather celebration in Chicago, to commemorate the the 20th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Since them it has come to represent the kink and BDSM community as whole.


How are you doing so far? Here are a few more flags for you to become acquainted with…

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Nonbinary Flag


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Intersex Flag


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Pansexual flag


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Bear Brotherhood Flag


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Rubber Pride Flag


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Two-Spirit Pride Flag


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Ally Pride Flag


While the flags covered in this article do not represent every one of the Pride flags in our community, hope it helped you expand your flag knowledge. I know I learned way more about flags than I thought possible! Whichever flag you fly this Pride month, FLY IT PROUDLY!  Always remember those that came before us and paved the way for us to have the rights we have today and the freedom to fly any flag we want! HAPPY (almost) PRIDE MONTH INSTINCTERS! 

Maybe for next year, we can get Sheldon Cooper to do a Fun with LGBTQ Flags episode.

Photo CBS

Sources: Reader’s Digest, Vox, Them

 

 

6 thoughts on “Know The (Many) Different Pride Flags!”

  1. All this seems to become an umbrella for every group in humanity that needs a home. I identify as a gay male. I don’t see a flag for my “group”, although I really don’t need one. However, I think that this suggests that maybe these various “categories” need their own grouping. Many groups taken in here are not “gay”. Oneness and togetherness are wonderful and cute, but an organization should represent the people that it was designed for. I am comfortable with a gay men’s group that I can identify with. Sorry, but I don’t see myself as a member of some umbrella group, most of which don’t relate to me at all. I am comfortable with my regular bathroom that I was built for, and the pronouns that refer to me. I like my maleness and masculinity. While I fully respect everyone’s opinions, I also respect who I am, and will continue to do so, within my own grouping.

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  2. WTF?! “Know the (‘Many’ Different GAY Pride Flags!” That should be “Know the Many Different LGBTQ+ Flags” since you are referencing flags from the entire LGBTQ+ Community & not everyone identifies as Gay (I identify as Gay, BTW)! The entire point of your article is moot until this is corrected.

    As an LGBTQ+ publication: YOU KNOW BETTER, SO DO BETTER!!

    Reply
  3. I thought that the rainbow flag was designed to include all! Now we are dividing ourselves into segments of the all. Seems very counter productive

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