Guide to Pride Flags

Introduction

In 1977, Harvey Milk challenged Gilbert Baker, an openly gay activist, to create a symbol for the gay community. Baker made an 8-color variation on the rainbow flag, a prominent symbol of peace. Problems sourcing materials eventually condensed it back down to the classic 6-stripe rainbow in 1979.

It started a tradition of striped queer Pride flags. The next three weren’t until the bi flag (1998), lesbian Labrys (1999), and trans flag (1999). In 2009, Natalie Phox’s Intersex flag is posted to Wikimedia commons. It is the first flag unveiled online. With the exception of the Philadelphia City Hall flag, every flag since has been unveiled online.

Some, like the Asexual flag, are collaborative community efforts that may not have been possible without the Internet. As different online communities flourish, as new ways of thinking about identity form, flags pop up like mushrooms in the fertile soil.

Tumblr was founded in 2007. Amid it’s tumult and broken code, a queer community begins to form there. In 2010, Evie Varney, justjasper, posts the pan flag to Tumblr. Of the 26 flags in the current collection, 13 were posted to Tumblr. Countless more lesser known flags have been posted there. Tumblr has played an incredibly important role in an ever more vibrant, connected, and proud queer community.

I am writing this after Tumblr announcement about curtailing “adult content.” Born out of a combination of not believing they can sell ads next to “porn,” a desperate attempt to not be sued under SESTA/FOSTA in the US, and prepare for Article 13 in the EU. The chilling effect these laws are having on queer discourse has already begun. I worry very dearly for our future, and for the flags we might not be able to save from these fires of censorship. The Genderfluid primary source was removed two days after we secured an interview with the creator.

Although it's one of the oldest flags, the Labrys flag never really caught on. The Lipstick flag is from 2010, but it didn't gain traction until 2015 when it was reposted to Tumblr with the lips removed. Many butch lesbians felt excluded by the femininity of the Lipstick flag, leading to the creation of two butch flags in 2016 and 2017. In June of 2018, Lydia wrote a Medium article documenting the racism, biphobia, and general meanness on the Lipstick flag creator, along with a proposal for a new flag. This unleashed a campaign for a new lesbian flag and a trend of new designs. As of June 2019, the Sadlesbeandisaster flag appears to have won out as the next main lesbian flag.

As we collected Pride flags from various sources for our patches, we became keenly aware of all the context missing from the reposts. Who had made these flags? How old were they? What community did they incubate in? Why were they made and what did they mean to their creator? Was the current community meaning now different (see the bi flag)? In our keenness to disseminate them, we were losing important parts of our history.

This, then, is our attempt to collect what we do know about the flags that have made the biggest impacts in the community. We’ll add to it over time as we obtain new information or collect flags.

Agender Flag

Agender flag with 7 horizontal stripes: Black, light grey, white, light green, white, light grey, and black.

Created by Salem in 2014

Unveiled at transrants.tumblr.com.

Agender definition.

The history and meaning of the Agender Flag.

Our interview with Salem.

Aromantic Flag

Aromantic flag with 5 horizontal stripes: green, light green, white, grey, and black.

Created by CameronWhimsy in 2014.

Unveiled at cameronwhimsy.tumblr.com.

Aromantic definition.

The history and meaning of the Aromantic Flag.

Asexual Flag

Asexual flag with 4 horizontal stripes: Black, grey, white, and violet.

Created by the AVEN Community in 2010.

Unveiled at asexuality.org.

Asexual definition.

The history and meaning of the Asexual Flag.

Bisexual Flag

Bisexual flag with 3 horizontal stripes: a thick hot-pink stripe, a purple stripe, and a thick blue stripe.

Created by Michael Page in 1998.

Unveiled at BiCafe's first Anniversary Party.

Bisexual definition.

The history and meaning of the Bisexual Flag.

Genderfluid Flag

Genderfluid flag with 5 horizontal stripes: salmon-pink, white, hot-purple, black, and blue.

Created by JJ Poole in 2012.

Unveiled at genderfluidity.tumblr.com.

Genderfluid definition.

The history and meaning of the Genderfluid Flag.

Our interview with JJ Poole.

Genderqueer Flag

Genderqueer flag with 3 horizontal stripes: lavender, white, and dark chartreuse green.

Created by Marilyn Roxie in 2011.

Unveiled at genderqueerid.com.

Genderqueer definition.

The history and meaning of the Genderqueer Flag.

Intersex Flag by IHRA/OII

Intersex flag with a yellow field and a purple ring in the center.

Created by Morgan Carpenter in 2013.

Unveiled at ihra.org.au (formerly OII).

Intersex definition.

The history and meaning of the Intersex Flag by IHRA/OII.

Intersex Flag by Natalie Phox

Inersex flag with 5 five horizontal stripes colored (top to bottom) lavender, white, a double-width stripe with a gradient from blue to pink, white, and lavender.

Created by Natalie Phox in 2009.

Unveiled at commons.wikimedia.org.

Intersex definition.

The history and meaning of the Intersex Flag by Natalie Phox.

Lesbian Flag by Anurtransyl

Lesbian flag with 5 horizontal stripes: dark turquoise, light turquoise, pale purple, light purple, and purple.

Created by Jace in April 2018.

Unveiled at anurtransyl.tumblr.com.

Lesbian definition.

The history and meaning of the Lesbian Flag by Anurtransyl.

Lesbian Flag by Apersnicketylemon

Lesbian flag with 4 horizontal stripes which are colored (top to bottom): purple, pink, grey, and light blue.

Created by Marion W in May 2018.

Unveiled at persnicketylemon.tumblr.com.

Lesbian definition.

The history and meaning of the Lesbian Flag by Apersnicketylemon.

Butch Lesbian Flag by Butch Positivity

Butch Lesbian flag with 7 stripes: dark red-orange, mid red-orange, light red-orange, cream, light yellow-orange, mid yellow-orange, and dark yellow-orange-brown.

Created by Butch Positivity in June 2017.

Unveiled at butchspace.tumblr.com.

The history and meaning of the Butch Lesbian Flag by Butch Positivity.

Butch Lesbian Flag by dorian–rutherford

This flag has 7 even horizontal stripes which are colored (top to bottom) grey-blue, light grey-blue, grey, white, light lavender, purple, and dark purple.

Created by dorian–rutherford in 2016.

Unveiled at dorian–rutherford.tumblr.com, since deleted.

The history and meaning of the Butch Lesbian Flag by dorian–rutherford.

Lesbian Community Flag by Erin Ptah

Lesbian flag with 5 even horizontal stripes which are colored (top to bottom): dark pink , pink, pale yellow, lavender, blue-black

Created by Erin Ptah in June 2018.

Unveiled at leifandthorn.com.

Lesbian definition.

The history and meaning of the Lesbian Community Flag by Erin Ptah.

Our interview with Erin Ptah.

Dawn Lesbian Flag

Lesbian flag with 6 horizontal stripes: Hot pink, mid pink, light pink, yellow, yellow-orange, and orange.

Created by Bridgette Rome in June 2018.

Unveiled at twitter.com/bridgette_rome.

Lesbian definition.

The history and meaning of the Dawn Lesbian Flag.

Lesbian Flag by Folkvillain

This flag has 7 even horizontal stripes which are colored (top to bottom) dark purple, dark violet, medium purple, pale purple, light red, red, and burgundy.

Created by Folkvillain in January 2019.

Unveiled at twitter.com/folkvillain. (Account currently locked.)

Lesbian definition.

The history and meaning of the Lesbian Flag by Folkvillain.

Labrys Lesbian Flag

Lesbian flag with an upright white two-headed labrys axe on a point-down black equilateral triangle on a purple field.

Created by Folkvillain in 2000.

Unveiled in the June 2000 edition of the Gay and Lesbian Times (Greater Palm Springs Edition).

Lesbian definition.

The history and meaning of the Labrys Lesbian Flag.

Lipstick Lesbian Flag

Lesbian flag with 7 horizontal stripes: dark pink, mid pink, light pink, white, pale red, brick red, mid red. Across the upper left corner are hot-pink lips.

Created by This Lesbian Life in 2010.

Unveiled at thislesbianlife.wordpress.com.

Lesbian definition.

The history and meaning of the Lipstick Lesbian Flag.

NOTE: This has been the main lesbian flag for a while, but the creator is biphobic and racist, and butch lesbians haven't felt well represented by it. A movement is well underway to replace it.

Lesbian Flag by Lydia

Lesbian flag with 4 horizontal stripes which are colored (top to bottom): purple, yellow, dill green, and pink

Created Lydia June 2018.

Unveiled at medium.com/@lydiandragon.

Lesbian definition.

The history and meaning of the Lesbian Flag by Lydia.

Lesbian Flag by Nillia

Lesbian flag with 7 horizontal stripes which are colored (top to bottom): dark pink, mid pink, light pink, white, orange, brick red, mid red

Created Nillia April 2018.

Unveiled at nillia.tumblr.com.

Lesbian definition.

The history and meaning of the Lesbian Flag by Nillia.

Lesbian Flag by Oxaline

Lesbian flag with 5 even horizontal stripes which are colored (top to bottom): yellow, sea foam, turquoise, sky blue, and lavender.

Created sometime prior to 11 march 2017.

Unveiled at sunlesbian.co.vu, since deleted.

Lesbian definition.

The history and meaning of the Lesbian Flag by Oxaline.

Lesbian Flag by Sadlesbeandisaster

Lesbian flag with 7 even horizontal stripes: dark orange, orange, light orange, white, pink, dusty pink, and dark rose.
Lesbian flag with 5 even horizontal stripes: dark orange, light orange, white, pink, and dark rose.

Created Sadlesbeandisaster in June 2018.

Unveiled at sadlesbeandisaster.tumblr.com.

Lesbian definition.

The history and meaning of the Lesbian Flag by Sadlesbeandisaster.

Five color variant by taqwomen.

As of June 2019, this flag appears to be the new community standard Lesbian flag.

LGBT Rainbow Flag

Current LGBT Pride flag with 6 horizontal stripes: Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.

(Gay Pride Flag)

Created by Gilbert Baker in 1978.

Unveiled at San Francisco Pride Parade.

LGBTQ+ definition.

Gay definition.

The history and meaning of the LGBT Rainbow/Gay Pride Flag.

MLM Flag

MLM flag with 5 even horizontal stripes which are colored (top to bottom): red-orange, yellow, white, green, and navy blue. The colors are from roosters.
An illustration of a rooster in the colors of the MLM flag. The comb and waddle are red-orange; the feathers on the neck, wingtips, back, and feet are yellow with white highlights; and the main body, wings, and tail feathers are navy blue with green highlights. In the lower left corner is a small version of the MLM flag.

Created by Raymond Roach on 6 July 2019.

Unveiled at twitter.com/roach_works.

MLM (Men loving men)  definition.

The history and meaning of the MLM Pride Flag.

Nonbinary Flag

Nonbinary flag with 4 horizontal stripes: yellow, white, purple, and black.

Created by Kye Rowan in 2014.

Unveiled at thejasmineelf.tumblr.com.

Nonbinary definition.

The history and meaning of the Nonbinary Flag.

Pansexual Flag

Pansexual flag with 3 horizontal stripes: hot pink, yellow, and turquoise.

Created by Evie Varney in 2010.

Unveiled at pansexualflag.tumblr.com.

Pansexual definition.

The history and meaning of the Pansexual Flag.

Our interview with Evie Varney.

Philadelphia City Hall Pride Flag

Philadelphia City Hall flag with 8 horizontal stripes: black, brown, red, organge, yellow, green, blue, and purple.

Created by Terney (ad agency) in 2017.

Unveiled at 1st Annual Pride Month Kick-Off at Philadelphia City Hall.

The Tierney ad agency was commissioned by the Philadelphia's Office of LGBT Affairs (city agency) to "highlight black and brown LGBTQIA members within our community."

The history and meaning of the Philadelphia City Hall Pride Flag.

Transgender Flag

Transgender flag with 5 stripes: light blue, pink, white, pink and blue.

Created by Monica Helms in 1999.

Unveiled at the 2000 Phoenix AZ Pride Parade.

Transgender definition.

The history and meaning of the Transgender Flag.

Most of the identity definitions on this page are from The Trans Language Primer. It is a fabulous resource. Please consider giving them some love on Patreon.

Out LGBT Rainbow patch

This is an ambitious project. Web hosting and site building tools aren't cheap. Gathering information, designing useful ways to explore it, and making it accessible all take time. Donations are greatly appreciated. You can also support us by buying a d20 Pride flag patch or A Brief History of Pride Flags zine from our shop. Custom colors are available on request.

If you have information you'd like to contribute, please send us an email through the contact form. Note that at this time we have collected more flags than we have documented here. Comments are disabled because every similar project I've seen with comments includes harassment, and I have no interest in providing a space for that.