Pride Month isn't just rainbow flags but pansexual flags, transgender flags and more: Here's what they mean
Martin Boyce was at the Stonewall Inn in New York when riots broke out in June 1969, a moment seen as the birth of the LGBTQ rights movement. USA TODAY
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — June is Pride month, which means you may be seeing a lot of those iconic rainbow flags, depending on where you live. You might also see other flags flying next to them, meant to include the diversity of the LGBTQ community — here's what they all mean.
The iconic six-striped rainbow flag was created by artist and veteran Gilbert Baker in 1978 at the request of activist Harvey Milk, according to Baker's website.
Baker's original flag included eight colored stripes, each with a different meaning: pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for magic, blue for serenity and purple for spirit.
Tracie Meyer, a board member of the Political Action Committee of the Fairness Campaign, said the flag represents intersectionality, or the overlapping of groups within the LGBTQ community, and highlights the differences between such groups.
"I think the flag allowed individuals historically to come together and identify as a group and to bring that power together and to protest together," Meyer said.
Following Milk's assassination in 1978, the demand for pride flags went up, and the Paramount Flag Company removed hot pink from the fabric because it was too expensive and a year later removed the turquoise stripe, according to Baker's website.
He never placed a copyright on the flag because he wanted it to "owned by everyone," Baker's friend Charles Beal told The Huffington Post in 2018.
In the years following the pride flag's creation, others have been created to represent identities that fall under the LGBTQ umbrella.
Flying flags that celebrate each of the LGBTQ communities is an act of visibility, said Chris Hartman, director of the Kentucky Fairness Campaign in Louisville.
"We know that visibility is key to acceptance and legal rights and to changing hearts and minds," Hartman said.
Some of the flags that represent visibility for transgender and bisexual people are becoming almost as widely known as the original pride flag, Hartman said.
"(I) certainly embrace everyone being able to celebrate with pride and dignity a show of their identity, which is what I think the flags are all about," Hartman said.
Here are 10 other Pride flags and their meanings:
Rainbow flag with black and brown stripes
In 2017, for the city of Philadelphia's pride kick off, two additional stripes were added to the traditional design, black and brown, intended as an inclusive message for LGBTQ people of color.
About 20 years after the creation of the pride flag, Michael Page designed the bisexual flag, which was meant to bring visibility to the bisexual community, according to pride.com.
The flag contains two wider stripes, pink and blue, to represent the male and female genders. A smaller purple stripe is between them representing sexual attraction to both men and women.
Designed in 1998 by Monica Helms, the transgender flag includes blue, pink and white stripes. Blue and pink represent the traditional male and female gender colors, and white is for those who are transitioning or don't feel they fit into either gender category.
The pansexual flag was created in 2010 as a way for pansexual people to distinguish themselves from bisexual people, according to pride.com. Similar to the bisexual flag, the pink and blue stripes represent attraction to men and women, but the pansexual flag's yellow stripe represents attraction to non-binary and gender-nonconforming people.
The asexual flag was also created in 2010. It was meant to promote visibility for asexuals, demisexuals and graysexuals, according to pride.com.
Asexuality refers to people who don't experience sexual attraction, whereas demisexuality refers to people who only experience sexual attraction to people with whom they have an emotional bond, according to the Demisexuality Resource Center, an online resource for people who identify as demisexual and their allies. Graysexuality refers to individuals who experience occasional or mild sexual attraction, according to a 2016 article from the Telegraph.
The intersex flag was designed in 2013 and purposefully designed with colors that don't represent any gender, according to pride.com. It was created by Intersex International Australia, now called Intersex Human Rights Australia.
The genderfluid flag is meant to encompass all gender identities. In addition to the traditional pink and blue, purple stands for masculinity and femininity, white for lack of gender and black for all genders.
The genderqueer flag was created in 2011. Its lavender stripe represents androgyny, agender identities are represented with white and non-binary with green, according to pride.com.
Some people refer to the genderqueer flag as the non-binary flag if they feel the word "queer" is a slur, according to pride.com. But a separate flag, the non-binary flag, was created by a 17-year-old in 2014 for people who felt misrepresented by the genderqueer flag.
The flag wasn't meant as a replacement but rather to offer another option, pride.com stated. The yellow stripe represents gender outside of the binary. The white represents many genders. Purple is for those who feel fluidity between genders. The black represents the agender community.
The progress flag
The progress flag features the same six rainbow stripes but includes five additional colors. Like Philadelphia's flag, the progress flag includes the colors black and brown to represent LGBTQ people of color, but it also includes light blue, pink and white for the transgender flag.
The progress flag was created by Daniel Quasar in an attempt to reboot the pride flag "with an emphasis on inclusion and progression," according to his Kickstarter.
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