What Do All the Pride Flags Mean?

Red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, indigo, violet... chartreuse?

Red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, indigo, violet… chartreuse? With Pride month comes many celebrations and marches in support of the LGBTQ Community and the many symbols and flags that have come to represent the varying communities that make up the greater LGBTQ rainbow. You will see a plethora of different and colorful flags but what do they all stand for?

Progress Pride Flag

Daniel Quasar created this flag in 2018. He added a five-colored chevron to the LGBTQ Rainbow Flag to place a greater emphasis on “inclusion and progression.”

Quasar’s Progress Pride Flag adds five arrow-shaped lines to the six-colored Rainbow Flag. The flag includes black and brown stripes to represent marginalized LGBTQ communities of color, along with the colors pink, light blue and white, which are used on the Transgender Pride Flag.

He says the main section of the flag incorporates the six-stripe flag so as to not take away from the initial meaning, while the additional elements form an arrow shape that points to the right, to represent “forward movement”. They are placed along the left edge of the flag to state that “progress still needs to be made.”

Philadelphia’s People of Color Inclusive Flag

This flag was created in 2017 to give representation to black and brown people in the LGBTQ community and the unique challenges they face. The flag was first introduced in 2017 during the First Annual Pride Kick-Off Celebration at City Hall in Philadelphia.

Pro-tip for straight allies: The two flags above are the only versions of the Rainbow Pride flag you should hang at your business or home to show that you support the entire LGBTQ+ Community.

Rainbow Pride Flag – Original

Gilbert Baker designed the first rainbow Pride flag for the 1978 San Francisco Gay Freedom Day celebration. He designed the flag as a “symbol of hope” and liberation. The original design, inspired by Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow” consisted of eight colors, including hot pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for magic and art, indigo for serenity, and violet for spirit. Each was intended to call attention to the totality of queer culture, and the multifaceted nature of what it means to be LGBTQ+.

Rainbow Pride Flag

A shortage of hot pink fabric forced Baker to drop that color, and after combining indigo and turquoise to become royal blue, the flag’s colors were honed to the six-color array the became the most prolific until the 2010’s.

Intersex-inclusive Progress Pride Flag

In 2021, Valentino Vecchietti of Intersex Equality Rights UK adapted Daniel Quasar’s Progress Pride flag design to incorporate the intersex flag, creating this Intersex-Inclusive Progress Pride flag.

Bisexual Pride Flag

Bisexuality can be defined a few different ways depending on who you ask in the community. For many, it’s seen as attraction to both men and women. Others use it to describe attraction to more than one gender, but not all genders. Some even describe it as attraction to the gender you identify as and at least one other gender.

Created in 1998 by Michael Page, the bisexual pride flag is pink on the top and royal blue on the bottom, with an overlapping purple stripe in the middle. The pink is intended to represent attraction to the same sex only, the royal blue to the opposite sex only, and the purple attraction to all genders / more than one.

Pansexual Pride Flag

It’s unclear who actually created this flag, but ever since it started showing up online in 2010, it’s become a symbol of attraction to all genders.

The pansexual pride flag has three horizontal stripes: pink, yellow, and blue. According to most definitions, the pink represents people who are female-identified, the blue represents people who are male-identified, while the yellow represents nonbinary attraction.

Lesbian Pride Flag

This updated lesbian flag was modeled after the seven-band “pink” flag and was introduced in 2018, with colors dark orange representing ‘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’.

Lesbian Labrys Pride Flag

This flag features a Purple background with an inverted black triangle adorned with a Labrys. The Black triangle represents how Lesbians were branded in concentration camps, and the Labrys became a symbol of Lesbian feminism in the 1970’s, because of a magazine that shared the same name. It is also associated with Amazons.

Asexual Pride Flag

Asexuality is defined by a lack of sexual attraction. “They are not drawn to people sexually and do not desire to act upon attraction to others in a sexual way.”

In August 2010, the asexual pride flag debuted after a period of debate. The flag consists of four horizontal stripes: black, gray, white, and purple from top to bottom. The black stripe represents asexuality, the gray stripe represents the gray area between sexual and asexual, the white stripe sexuality, and the purple stripe for community.

Intersex Pride Flag

Intersex is an umbrella term for those who’s bodies do not align with the gender binary of male and female. Some people can have both sets of genitals, various combinations of chromosomes or more differences.

 Created in July 2013 by OII Australia, the intersex pride flag utilizes yellow and purple, which are considered gender-neutral colors, according to the organization. The purple central circle is “unbroken and unornamented, symbolising wholeness and completeness, and our potentialities.”

Transgender Pride Flag

This flag was created by trans woman Monica Helms in 1999. According to Helms, “The pattern is such that no matter which way you fly it, it will always be correct. This symbolizes us trying to find correctness in our own lives.”

Blue: Represents male.
Pink: Represents female.
White: Represents people who are transitioning, have no gender or are gender-neutral.

Genderqueer Pride Flag

Genderqueer people are individuals who don’t conform to societal ideas of how they should act or express themselves based on the gender they were assigned at birth.

This flag was designed in 2011 by Marilyn Roxie, a genderqueer writer and advocate, and features a lavender, white, and chartreuse stripe. The lavender stripe is a mix of blue and pink—colors traditionally associated with men and women—and represents androgyny as well as queer identities. The white stripe, like in the transgender pride flag, represent agender or gender neutral identities. The chartreuse stripe is the inverse of lavender and represents third gender identities and identities outside the gender binary.

Genderfluid Pride Flag

People who are genderfluid don’t identify with one gender, but rather their gender identity shifts between male, female, or somewhere else on the spectrum. How often someone’s identity shifts depends on the individual.

JJ Poole created this flag in 2012. It has five horizontal stripes: pink for femininity, blue for masculinity, purple for both masculinity and femininity, black for the lack of gender, and white for all genders.

Agender Pride Flag

Agender is someone who doesn’t identify with any gender. This pride flag was created in 2014 by Salem X.

It has seven horizontal stripes. The black and white stripes represent an absence of gender, the gray represents semi-genderlessness, and the central green stripe represents nonbinary genders.

Non-Binary Pride Flag

Kye Rowan created the nonbinary pride flag in 2014 for non-binary people who didn’t feel the genderqueer flag represents them. The yellow stripe represents people whose gender exists outside of the binary, the white stripe, people with many or all genders, the purple, people with genders considered a mix of male and female, and the black people who identify as not having a gender.

Demisexual Pride Flag

The Demisexual flag represents those who only experience attraction after making a strong emotional connection with a specific person. Consisting of three strips in White, Purple, and Gray, with a Black Triangle pointing right from the left edge of the flag.

Polysexual Pride Flag

The Polysexual flag represents those that incorporate many different kinds of sexuality. Consisting of three stripes in: Pink represents attraction to females. Green represents being non-binary or attracted to non-binary people, and Green represents bigender, third gender, genderqueer, or other genders.

Polyamorus Pride Flag

The Polyamorous flag represents those involved in the practice of engaging in multiple relationships with the consent of all the people involved. The flag has three stripes in: Blue represents the openness and honesty among all partners, Red represents love and passion, and Black represents solidarity. The Gold “pi” represents the value they place on the emotional attachment to others.

Bear Community Flag

The bear brotherhood flag was designed in 1995 by Craig Byrnes for the International Bear Brotherhood. The colors are meant to represent the fur of actual bears around the world.

Leather Community Flag

Tony DeBlase designed the Leather Pride flag in 1989. While it’s widely associated with the queer leather scene, it’s not an exclusively gay symbol and has been embraced by the larger leather and BDSM community. DeBlase said he wanted to leave interpretation of the flag—alternating black and blue stripes, with a white central stripe and a large red heart—up to the viewer.

Leather Boy Pride version

The Leather Boy Pride flag is meant to represent Boys/Bois, a subgroup of the leather subculture. The word originally denoted younger and submissive gay men with an appreciation for older and dominant men (these being called Sirs, Masters or Dads), who were often newcomers to the community as well. However, its use seems to have become less strict in terms of the age and relation role, so nowadays it is sometimes used almost as a synonym for a leatherman, depending on the user’s point of view.

Puppy Pride version

This flag represents a part of the leather community. It is semi-derivative of the leather flag and leather boy flag, with a red bone in the middle. The White stripe is slightly bigger to represent the broadness of the community, the bone represents the unconditional, non-judgmental heart of the puppy.

Leather Girl Pride version

The Leather Girl Pride Flag represents those in the community that are heavily interested in Leather and BDSM. Consisting of stripes in Black and Pink, with a White Stripe in the middle. Topped with a red heart in the upper left-hand portion of the flag.

There are limitless other combinations of flags. There are flags that combine two of the above to signify a very specific identity, usually within a heart shape. The flags use the same colors and patterns to easily identify these combinations:

A flag representing bisexual and panromantic.

A flag representing genderfluid and bisexual.

There are also Pride flags that combine the traditional flags with additional religious or cause symbols, like a Rainbow Pride flag with a Star of David to symbolize gay and Jewish identity or a Rainbow Pride flag with a marijuana leaf to symbolize support for the legalization of marijuana.

Jeff Freedman (he/him) is a Pittsburgh native and is in his fourth decade of volunteerism for the LGBTQ Community.  Jeff is one of the founding members of the Steel City Softball League in 1981 and has been an active member of the LGBTQ Community ever since.  Jeff is currently a member of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Commission for LGBTQ Affairs.  He is a past Chair of the Pittsburgh Pride celebrations (’05-’07) and current Pittsburgh Pride March & Parade Co-Chair.  You would recognize him by his voice.  He was the loud one on the megaphone lining up all the March & Parade participants.  Jeff has a lot of great stories to tell and looks forward to sharing the printable ones with the QBurgh Community.