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Variety of LGBTQ pride flags: LGBTQ symbols not limited by rainbow flag

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Variety of LGBTQ pride flags: LGBTQ symbols not limited by rainbow flag

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As we are running through LGBTQ pride month KeYou cannot stay aside. June is undoubtedly the time for the community to celebrate achievements, stay together to demonstrate unity and devotion to common goals as well as to welcome new members, support those in process of self-identification and simply have fun. This is far not complete list of reasons bringing LGBTQ community members together every year.  Despite being strong united by common values, the representatives are quite diverse and are able to be complimentary and mutually enriching. To make this process smooth and enjoyable, it’s crucial to understand the “comfort zone” limits of your soulmates and exercise precaution to avoid weird situations.  The easiest but fruitful way to do it is to pay attention to the symbols used for self-identification. Among those pride flags are the most used ones capable of communicating shared values via color palette.  Keeping that in mind KeYou has brought popular pride flags together and provided explanation for color code and symbolism.

We start our discussion from the most recognized pride flag associated with LGBTQ community, rainbow. Originally designed within gay community it went through several transformations in late 1970s to finally appear at what we got used to: six-stripes version. From bottom to top the colors stand for: violet (spirit), royal blue (harmony), green (nature), yellow (sun), orange (healing) and red (life) .  With so many colors in use, this flag is undoubtedly communicating multiple fundamental concepts accepted and shared within community. It is thus non-surprisingly used to identify and symbolize the entire LGBTQ community pride and solidarity as well as to serve for more narrow goal, namely, to represent gay pride. Designed by Gilbert Baker in 1978  it was first publicly demonstrated during Gay Pride Day in San Francisco. Finally, to make the flag even more inclusive, two stripes, black and brown,  were added to pay tribute to people of color in 2017

Girls love to be different and lesbians are not an exclusion. To confirm this idea, several pride flags were proposed and adopted by lesbian community.  Among those are: rainbow flag with Venus symbols interlocking, labrys lesbian flag, and lipstick lesbian flag. The latter has two modifications: with and without lipstick added. Labrys lesbian pride flag is dated back to 1999 and attributed to graphic designer Sean Campbell. It is worth noting the labrys symbol itself used to be one of the holiest in Cretan culture and was associated with the beginning of the creation. Later on, other meaning, namely women’s strength and independence was also adopted. Thus, there was no surprise for it being naturally adopted by the lesbian community to symbolize women empowerment. 

Inverted black triangle is paying tribute to lesbians tortured in concentration camps. Finally, lesbian lipstick pride flag has no specific color code but rather represents gay woman with quite feminine gender expression. However, according to some bloggers the creator has been discredited and thus more work should be done to design a flag uniting all lesbians. The author proposed a version with meaningful color code where the colors stand for:  green (healing), yellow (strength), pink(fragility), violet (Sapphic love). However, up to now there is no pride flag being officially accepted by the entire lesbian community.

Two variants of agender pride flag have been proposed in 2014 by Rumpus Parable (left) and Salem X/”Ska” (right) both sharing black&white colors. The colors, however, communicate different meanings: both black&white are attributed to a complete absence of gender (left); black is used to identify people without gender and white being all-inclusive color for all non-binaries (right). Finally, green stands for nonbinary gender (opposite to purple).

Aromantic pride community went through several modifications of a pride flag with the most recent one shown below.  Here dark green is considered as opposing to red (stands for romance), light green covers the entire aromantic spectrum, white stands for aesthetic and platonic attraction and represents queer and quasi-platonic relationship, grey is attributed to demi-romantic and grey-romantic individuals. The most recent and widely accepted, this version was designed by Tumblr user Cameron in 2014.

Asexual pride flag has been chosen in 2010 via open online context organized by AVEN (). In the winning version the colors from bottom to top stand for: purple (community), white (non-asexual partners&allies), grey (demisexuality&grey asexuality and black (asexuality).  As a result of numerous discussions within asexual community, simple four-stripe flag not only serves for identification, but also allows to avoid connotations with other ambiguous symbols such as heart or triangle.

Bear subculture (Bear Brotherhood) is an integral part of gay community. Originally proposed by Paul Witzkoske in 1995 it reflects various fur colors and nationalities of bears around the globe. The flag was designed to be inclusive and is protected by law.

Bisexual pride flag designed by Michael Page in 1998 is shown below.  The color code used is usually explained as follows: blue represents attraction to the opposite sex,  purple designates attraction to both sexes, whereas pink stands for attraction to the same-gender people. This straightforward explanation can be complimented with deeper socio-cultural meaning as outlined by the creator. That is an inevitable penetration of purple in both pink and blue symbolizing the presence of bi people in lesbian/gay and straight communities.

Different in design from many other pride flags containing series of horizontal stripes varying in color, demisexual pride flag is often underrepresented and misunderstood even during LGBTQ events. Demisexual pride flag shares similar color code with asexual one with one important distinction. Starting from common, black and purple represent asexuality and community, respectively. The major difference lies in the meaning of a white color: sexuality for demisexuals and non-asexual partners and allies for asexuals. Unique design of demisexual flag represents the specifics of the community members in having strong emotional bonds prior having sexual relationships.

Originally created by Marilyn Roxie in 2011, genderqueer flag has three horizontal stripes that from bottom to top represent: nonbinary people( green), agender community (white), and androgyny (lavender).

Often considered as a subculture of genderqueer community, genderfluid people have developed their own flag for self-identification. From bottom to top its five horizontal color stripes are intended to communicate: masculinity (blue), all other except femininity&masculinity  (black), combination of femininity&masculinity (purple), lack of gender (white), femininity (pink).

There are at least two versions of intersex pride flag currently in in use. The first one (left) was designed by Natalie Phox in 2009. Its color code reads as follows: spirit ( lavender) and mixture of male and female (blue-to-pink gradient).

It was Morgan Carpenter who created “firmly grounded in meaning”, distinctive intersex pride flag in 2013.  It utilizes yellow and purple colors, a combination that is usually associated with hermaphrodites and purple circle indicating “unbroken and unornamented, symbolizing wholeness and completeness, and our potentialities” (according to the author).

Nonbinary pride flag was designed by Kye Rowan in 2014 to represent people unable to identify themselves as genderqueer. From bottom to top the color code reads as: genderless (black), mixture of male and female (purple), multiple or all genders (white), people with gender outside binary (yellow).

According to the most common interpretation, three-stripes pansexual pride flag unites male-identified people (blue), nonbinary (yellow), and female-identified (pink). The creator of the flag remains unknown, but it appeared online in 2010 and has been widely used since that time.

The color code of polysexual pride flag represents a combination of pansexual and bisexual ones.  From bottom to top it means attraction to: male-identified individuals (blue), to people identified outside binary (green), and female-identified individuals (pink).

According to the creator of transgender pride flag, Monica Helms, five stripes can be read as follows: "The stripes at the top and bottom are light blue, the traditional color for baby boys. The stripes next to them are pink, the traditional color for baby girls. The stripe in the middle is white, for those who are transitioning or consider themselves having a neutral or undefined gender." Being an official flag of transgender community, this flag is not a unique one as others were adopted to highlight the specifics of local communities around the globe.

Although the rainbow flag is the biggest umbrella for LGBTQ community, there are ongoing attempts to make it even more inclusive. For instance, Progressive pride flag aims to account for queer people of color and transgenders.  The upgrade campaign was launched by Daniel Quasar in 2018.

Our readers may ask for reasons of unveiling color code of pride flags from bottom to top. The answer is simple: we believe that the abilities of self-expression and self-identification are internal and originate from heart all the way up to brain where finally realized and accepted.

2020-09-05