However many rainbow Pride flags you’ve seen, we guarantee you don’t know them all. Until now.
It all started in 1978 when a San Franciscan artist, Gilbert Baker, created the first rainbow flag to represent the LGBT+ community.
As its designer, he could have slapped a copyright on it, and probably become a millionaire. But instead he allowed anyone to use it – making it a gift to the world.
Since then Baker’s rainbow flag has led Pride parades around the world and become one of the best-known symbols on the planet.
Inspired by this original Pride Flag, other designers have created flags to represent different LGBT+ identities.
It’s like he started a rainbow big bang. And we are now living in an infinitely expanding universe of LGBT+ flags.
So let’s hoist them all up the flagpole and see which ones you want to salute.
Agender Pride Flag
This is a flag for those who identify as agender, or genderless. Literally, people who reject the idea of having a gender.
The black and white stripes represent the absence of gender. Grey stands for people who identify as semi or demi genderless. And green is for people who are non-binary.
It was first spotted on Tumblr in February 2014 but has become more common since.
The ‘Straight Ally Flag’ celebrates all straight and cisgender people who are proud allies of the LGBT+ community. It’s thought to date from the late 2000s.
The black and white stripes represent heterosexual genders. Meanwhile the A-shaped rainbow stands for both ‘ally’ and ‘activist’, championing their active role in advancing LGBT+ rights and inclusion.
Other ‘straight’ flags have been used against the LGBT+ community, but this one shows how our friends, families and colleagues support us.
Androgynous Pride Flag
Androgynous people are a mix of both male and female. The blue stripe represents masculinity and the pink femininity. The grey area represents that the metaphorical ‘grey area’ between these two genders.
Of course, androgynous people don’t necessarily feel exactly equally male and female – you can be slightly more masculine or feminine. But the flag forms an ‘equals’ sign to signify gender equality.
The alternative Androgynous Pride Flag has a more traditional ‘rainbow flag’ design. Red represents women, purple the mix between female and male, yellow for non-binary, grey for neutrality and blue for men.
Aromantic Pride Flag
Aromantic people may or may not be interested in sex but never or rarely experience romantic attraction.
Many place themselves on a spectrum – a range of (low to no) levels of romantic attraction. This includes ‘grey-aromantic’ and demi-romantic people who typically only feel romantic once they’ve built a deep relationship with someone.
Australian Tumblr user ‘Cameron’ created the Aromantic Pride Flag in November 2014, updating their previous design.
Dark green represents aromanticism while light green is for the aromantic spectrum.
Platonic attraction is literally non-physical attraction, as you may be attracted to a friend. While ‘aesthetic’ attraction means you can objectively find someone beautiful without feeling personally sexually or romantically interested. This range is represented by white.
The grey stripe is for grey-aromantic and demiromantic people. And finally black symbolises the sexuality spectrum.
Asexual Pride Flag
The Asexual Visibility and Education Network set up a competition to create this flag in 2010.
It represents the range of asexual identities – people with little or no sexual attraction to any gender.
Black represents asexuality. Grey is for grey-asexuality or demisexuality – people who are between being sexual and non-sexual beings.
White represents the non-asexual partners and allies of asexual people. And purple stands for community.
Bear Pride Flag
Bears are part of gay and bi male subculture – generally they are ruggedly masculine and hairy guys.
Psychology undergraduate Craig Byrnes worked with the bear community to create the Bear Pride Flag in 1995. He was studying the explosion of bear culture as part of his degree.
It represents bears of all backgrounds and races. But the colours are not human skin tones. Rather they are the fur colours of animal bears from around the world.
The Bear Pride Flag is also known as the International Bear Brotherhood Flag.
Bigender Pride Flag
If you are bigender you feel simultaneously both male and female. Or you may swap between those roles or take the best of both.
Unsurprisingly, the pinks and blues represent femininity and masculinity respectively. The purple stripes are for those genders combined.
Lastly, the white stripe is taken from the center of the Trans Pride Flag (see below). In this case, white stands for non-binary identities and shifting from one gender to another.
Bisexual Pride Flag
Bisexuality is physical and/or romantic attraction to two or more genders.
Michael Page, a campaigner for bi rights and visibility in the USA created the Bisexual Pride Flag in 1998. He wanted to have a different flag for bi people than the ‘gay’ rainbow flag.
In this case, pink represents being attracted to people of the same gender as yourself. Blue stands for attraction to a different gender to you. And purple symbolises attraction to two (or more) genders.
As Page put it: ‘The key to understanding the symbolism of the Bisexual Pride Flag is to know that the purple pixels of color blend unnoticeably into both the pink and blue, just as in the “real world,” where bi people blend unnoticeably into both the gay/lesbian and straight communities.’
Butch Lesbian flag
The Butch Lesbian Flag is designed to represent lesbians with a more ‘masculine’ or ‘dominant’ personality, style or identity.
It’s a redesign of the original rainbow flag and the pink lesbian flag which is associated with more ‘femme’ lipstick lesbians (see below). The colour scheme of blues, purple, grey and white was apparently just designed as a ‘butch makeover’ of the flag.
Demigender Pride Flag
Demigender literally means ‘half gender’ but practically is an umbrella term for people who are nonbinary but have a partial connection to a certain gender.
The grey, yellow and white striped Demigender Pride Flag is the most common used for them.
But there is also this flag for the partly male ‘demiboys’.
And this flag for the partly female ‘demigirls’.
Demisexual Pride Flag
Demisexuals aren’t totally asexual. They may be sexually attracted to someone, but once they’ve fallen in love.
The Demisexual Pride Flag uses the same colours of the asexual flag. So black represents asexuality, white for non-asexual friends and partners, purple for community, and grey for grey-asexuality.
Drag or Feather Pride Flag
The Feather Pride Flag is a symbol for the drag community. Artist Sean Campbell created it in 1999.
The phoenix represents the rebirth of the LGBT+ community. Meanwhile, as a mythical firebird it also stands for the ‘fires of passion’ the drag community had in the early days of HIV [and] AIDS epidemic when drag artists were key fundraisers.
Drag Pride Flag
The alternative drag flag debuted much later in 2016. It was the result of a worldwide competition run by Austin International Drag Foundation to symbolise pride among drag queens and drag kings.
The flag’s designer Veranda L’Ni set out the meaning as follows:
Purple represents a shared passion for drag. White stands for ‘the blank slate that is our bodies and face and that we all change to create the characters that we become’. Blue symbolises both self expression and loyalty.
Finally, the crown is for leadership in the LGBT+ community and the stars for the many forms of drag.
Gay Pride Flag, LGBT+ Pride Flag and Rainbow Flag
This is the most famous of the LGBT+ flags. Derived from Gilbert Baker’s original design, it is used to represent the whole community. But it is also the main flag used to symbolise gay men.
Monica Helms, creator of the Transgender Pride Flag, put it like this:
‘I say the rainbow flag is like the American flag: everybody’s underneath that. But each group, like each state, has their own individual flag.’
For the original meanings of the colors, see the Gilbert Baker Pride Flag below. And for alternatives, see the More Color More Pride or Progress Flags.
Genderfluid Pride Flag
Genderfluid people literally see their gender as fluid, rather than fixed.
The flag’s colors reflect this. Pink represents femininity, white signifies a lack of gender, purple is the combination of maleness and femaleness. Then black represents all genders, including third genders. And finally blue stands for masculinity.
It was created in 2012 by artist JJ Poole.
Genderflux Pride Flag
Genderflux people feel different levels of gender identity over time. So they may fluctuate between feeling very female and agendered.
Notably, it is different to genderfuidity. Genderfluid tends to be a variation in the gender they feel (they may vary between male and female). Whereas a genderflux person (in this case a boyflux) would vary between feeling gendered (male) and agender or somewhere in between.
The dark pink stands for female and the lighter pink for demigirl. Similarly, the darker blue for male and lighter blue for demiboy. The grey stripe represents agender and the yellow, nonbinary.
Genderqueer Pride Flag
Many genderqueer people also embrace other non-binary identities. But this umbrella term has the word ‘queer’ defiantly in it.
As such, genderqueer people are reclaiming a word used against our community to reject society’s ideas of gender, rather than assimilate.
Marilyn Roxie designed the Genderqueer Pride Flag in June 2011, updating previous designs from the year before.
The top lavender stripe carries a double meaning. As a ‘mix’ of ‘male’ blue and ‘female’ pink it symbolises androgyny. Moreover, lavender has long been associated with LGBT+ people and ‘queerness’.
Dark chartreuse green is the color opposite of lavender. Here it represents ‘third gender’ identity – people whose genders don’t match the ‘binary’ of male and female. The white stripe symbolises agender people as, indeed, it does on the Agender Pride Flag.
Gender Questioning Pride Flag
Anyone who is questioning whether they are really cisgender may identify as gender questioning.
And an artist named Roswell created this flag in 2017 to represent them.
It takes colors from other gender flags with the pink and blue spectrums representing levels of femininity and masculinity. Meanwhile, the grey in the middle symbolises uncertainty and seeking answers.
Gilbert Baker Pride Flag
This is the original rainbow flag, with two more colors than the version in use today.
Gilbert Baker, who designed it in 1977, assigned a meaning to each stripe.
- Hot pink: Sex
- Red: Life
- Orange: Healing
- Yellow: Sunlight
- Green: Nature
- Turquoise: Magic and art
- Indigo: Serenity
- Violet: Spirit
However, demand for the flag soared after openly gay San Francisco politician Harvey Milk was assassinated on 27 November 1978. To keep up with demand Baker and Paramount Flag Company dropped the pink stripe as there wasn’t enough hot-pink fabric available.
Baker had to change the flag again in 1979. When it was hung vertically from lamp posts in Market Street, San Francisco, the post hid the center stripe. The obvious answer was to have an even number of stripes, so Baker dropped the turquoise and the six stripe flag was born.
But after Baker died in 2017, people became more interested in the history of the flag, so this original design is now sometimes getting an airing.
Graysexual Pride Flag
Graysexuals feel somewhere between asexual (not interested in sex) and sexual (interested in sex). This is a deliberately vague term, for people who don’t want to be defined too narrowly.
The flag, also known as the Gray-A or Gray-ace Flag uses similar colors to the asexual and demisexual flags. Just like them, purple means community, grey for graysexuality and white for non-asexual friends and partners.
Hijra Pride Flag
Hijra share both a long culture and a gender identity. Across South Asia, hijra live together in small groups, guided by a guru. Hijras include trans women, intersex and other gender non-conforming people.
Hindu and Muslim religions recognize them but also ostracize them. However India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh offer ‘third gender’ – neither male or female – passports to hijras.
The flag combines both gender and spiritual symbolism. So: ‘Pink and blue are for those of us [hijras] who identify with binary genders as trans people, while the white is for those of us who are nonbinary, the red represents the divinity we were blessed with by [Hindu god] Rama.’
Intersex Pride Flag
If your sex characteristics aren’t entirely male or female, you are intersex. This may be in your chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones or genitals.
The flag’s creator, Morgan Carpenter, unveiled the design on 5 July 2013. At the time, Carpenter was co-chair of Organization Intersex International Australia. The flag is deliberately original rather than derivative of other Pride or rainbow flags.
Yellow and purple are gender-neutral colors. Meanwhile the circle represents wholeness or completeness and the potential of intersex people.
Carpenter said: ‘We are still fighting for bodily autonomy and genital integrity, and this symbolises the right to be who and how we want to be.’
Leather Pride Flag
There is a range of fetish flags but the Leather Pride Flag is the best known. As such, it’s not just leather fetish lovers who have embraced it. People into denim, sado-masochism, bondage and domination, uniform, cowboys, rubber, and other fetishes all adopt it.
Creator Tony DeBlase presented the flag at the International Mr. Leather Competition in Chicago in 1989.
In part, DeBlase wanted to mark the 20th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. But he also wanted to inspire others to design a permanent flag for the leather community – this was intended as a placeholder. However, the flag’s popularity spread rapidly and it’s still in use three decades later.
DeBlase was also clear that people should interpret the flag as they wished. And, indeed, they have.
Some have suggested black stands for leather and S&M lovers, blue for denim, white for newcomers to the fetish world and the red heart for S&M.
However, others have suggested a more ethereal interpretation. Black for permanence; blue for devotion, loyalty and community; white for purity and innocence; and the red heart for your lovers and community.
Labrys Lesbian Pride Flag
There are several lesbian flags, but this one has symbolism dating back to Ancient Greece.
In Greek myth, the Amazons were a tribe of warrior women living in Asia Minor. And they were associated with the double-headed labrys axe. The axe is also a symbol of goddesses Laphria, Artemis, and Demeter.
In the 1970s, lesbian feminists adopted the labrys as their symbol.
The black triangle dates back to the Nazi era. The Nazis rounded up ‘anti-social’ lesbian and bi women and put them in concentration camps. Just as they made Jewish people wear a yellow Star of David and gay men wear a pink triangle, the black triangle was used to identify lesbians.
Lesbians later adopted the triangle, as gay men did the pink triangle, as a defiant symbol of their community.
Graphic designer Sean Campbell brought these symbols together to create the Labrys Lesbian Pride Flag in 1999.
In the last few years there has been some battles over the ‘ownership’ of the Labrys Lesbian Flag.
Some TERFs (anti-trans women) have adopted it as their symbol. However others fought back insisting that the TERF use of it didn’t mean the community should abandon it. So it remains a flag for all.
Lesbian Pride Flag
The Lesbian Community Pride Flag, or just Lesbian Pride Flag, was inspired by the earlier Lipstick Lesbian Pride Flag (see below).
This design, introduced on social media in 2018, took the pink and red colours from the earlier flag and added a dark orange bar to indicate gender nonconformity.
Lipstick Lesbian Pride Flag
The Lipstick Lesbian Pride Flag represents lesbians with a ‘more feminine gender expression’.
The original version had a lipstick kiss symbol in the top right corner but the flag is also used without the kiss.
Some people have presented this flag as an alternative flag for the whole lesbian community. However, others have rejected this idea, arguing that the red and pink shades do not represent butch women.
Maverique Pride Flag
Maveriques have a gender – and feel they have a gender – but it is completely separate from male or female.
The designer used yellow because it is a primary color. Therefore, it is completely separate from other colors (like pink or blue) just as maverique is separate from male and female identities.
The white stripe represents independence from the gender binary. White is not on the spectrum of colors so is a blank slate on which maveriques put their own identity.
Finally, orange stands for the burning inner conviction that a maverique feels about their gender. It is perceived as an unorthodox color, again reflecting maverique identity.
More Colour More Pride Flag or Philadelphia Pride Flag
The More Colour More Pride Flag or Philadelphia Pride Flag is one of the latest attempts to redesign Gilbert Baker’s original rainbow flag. It is an ‘umbrella’ flag for the whole community.
The design was created by Philadelphia based PR agency Tierney for Philadelphia’s ‘More Color More Pride’ campaign. It debuted at a Pride Month launch at Philadelphia City Hall in June 2017.
The creators wanted to better represent people of color in the LGBT+ community. The answer was adding black and brown stripes. The flag is also sometimes known as the QPOC Flag (queer people of color).
Some traditionalists rejected the new design, arguing that Baker’s original already symbolised a ‘rainbow’ of different types of people. However, many are interested in giving more representation to race diversity in the LGBT+ community and the flag has been widely adopted.
Neutrois Pride Flag
Neutrois people typically identify as having no or neutral gender. In some cases they may want to reduce the physical signs of their sex so they appear more gender neutral.
White represents being neutral, unidentified, or questioning gender.
Dark chartreuse green is the ‘opposite’ of lavender, a mix of pink and blue. So this stripe symbolises being not male or female or a mix of those.
Black is for being agender or genderless.
Non-binary Pride Flag
Non-binary people simply feel their gender does not fit on the traditional male-female binary. But as well as an identity, it is also an umbrella term and may include androgynous, genderqueer, third gender, trans and other people.
The term non-binary and its flag came into use after genderqueer. And, while there is a lot of overlap between the two, non-binary has become a popular term for people who don’t feel they identify with genderqueer as well as people who do.
Activist Kye Rowan is credited with creating the non-binary flag in 2014. Each stripe represents part of the range of non-binary identities.
Yellow stands for identifying outside of the male-female gender binary. White, in this case, is for non-binary people who embrace more than one gender identity. Meanwhile purple again is a mix of both male and female genders and black stands for being agender.
Omnisexual Pride Flag
Omnisexuality is literally attraction to people of all genders. It’s slightly different to pansexuality which is attraction to people regardless of their gender. But, of course, individuals may be both omnisexual and pansexual.
The pink shades, unsurprisingly, mean attraction to feminine people and the blue attraction to masculine people. In the center, the black stripe stands for other genders.
Pangender Pride Flag
Pangender people typically embrace all genders or a large number of genders. They may be genderfluid too, in which case they are fluid between many genders over a period of time.
The colors on the flag are deliberately bright to represent the abundance of genders.
White is used as it is a combination of all colors, and therefore all genders. Yellow signifies genders that are not related to female and male. Meanwhile red shows the transition to masculine and feminine genders. And violet-pink combines male and female.
Pansexual Pride Flag
If you can be attracted to people regardless of their gender, you are pansexual or omnisexual. You may think of yourself as gender-blind. Some pansexuals feel they could be attracted to a humanoid alien.
But more practically level, it’s not letting someone’s gender define who you fancy. Of course, many bisexuals also feel they are attracted to people who are not male or female but another gender. But pansexuals make this more explicit.
The Pansexual Pride Flag emerged on the internet around 2010 and has become popular since.
It’s based on a similar design to the bisexual flag with three horizontal stripes. Unsurprisingly pink represents attraction to women, blue to men and yellow to people who are neither male nor female.
Pocket Gender Pride Flag
One of the more interesting parts of gender discovery is the little world of pocket genders. Technically these are a range of gender identities that are only held by one or a few people.
Often pocket gender discussion groups allow people to discuss or discover different, radical or even eccentric ways of experiencing a gender.
Alex Stowe created the pocket gender flag.
Firstly the colours. Pink and blue represent feminity and masculinity. Purple is a mix of both traditional genders but also genderlessness. Likewise black represents either a mix of genders or a lack of gender. Orange stands for Maverique, a specific non-binary identity (see above).
In this case, Stowe specifically chose triangles rather than stripes used in other Pride flags. They wanted to show the levels of the genders may vary.
Polyamorous Pride Flag
Polyamory is loving more than one person at the same time with all people involved consenting and respecting each other’s choices.
Jim Evans created the original Polyamorous Pride Flag in 1995.
Hear the colors represent emotions and values rather than genders. So blue stands for the openness and honesty of all partners in relationships. Red symbolises honesty and passion.
Meanwhile black means solidarity with people who are forced to hide their polyamorous relationships from the outside word.
The Greek letter ‘pi’ is the first letter of polyamory. It’s not known why Evans chose Greek for this as the word ‘polyamory’ has a Roman root, not Greek (poly ‘many’, amor ‘love’).
However the gold or yellow color of the ‘pi’ represents the ‘value that we place on the emotional attachment to others, be the relationship friendly or romantic in nature, as opposed to merely primarily physical relationships’.
An alternative version of the flag appeared in 2017. In this version, the University of Northern Colorado Poly Community replaced the ‘pi’ with a heart entwined with an infinity symbol. This means infinite love for multiple partners.
Polysexual Pride Flag
Polysexual people are attracted to more than two genders but not necessarily all genders. This differs from a literal interpretation of bisexuality (attraction to two genders) and pansexuality (attraction to all genders or regardless of gender).
However, many bi people take a less literal interpretation and polysexual, pansexual and bisexual people overlap in identities.
In fact Tumblr user Samlin, who created the flag in July 2012, made it similar in design to the bi and pan flags since ‘since they’re all in under the multisexual umbrella’.
However, Samlin was saddened that ‘as a poly individual’ there was no flag for the community.
The flag’s meaning is also similar. It retains pink and blue to symbolise attraction to male and female people. And it uses green to mean attraction to people outside the male-female binary.
Graphic designer Daniel Quasar decided to redesign the original rainbow flag again in 2018.
Quasar’s design was inspired by the Philadelphia Pride Flag (see above).
To emphasise inclusion, it uses brown and black stripes to represent LGBT+ people of color and adds the pink, white and blue from the Trans Pride Flag (see below).
Quasar then turned these colors into a five-color chevron. The arrow shape emphasises the need for progress. And, of course, this is set over the traditional six-stripe rainbow flag, in order that the meaning of the original flag is retained.
Rubber Pride Flag
There are lots of flags to represent a range of kinks which include LGBT+ people but also include cisgender heterosexuals.
Of these, the Rubber Pride Flag is one of the most popular and well established, dating from 1994. It also symbolises latex fetish.
The black represents ‘our lust for the look and feel for shiny black rubber’. The red is a ‘blood passion for rubber and rubbermen’. Meanwhile yellow represents the ‘drive for intense rubber play and fantasies. Finally the chevron symbolises kinkiness.
Trans Pride Flag or Transgender Pride Flag
Trans or transgender is, of course, an umbrella term for people who don’t feel they are the gender they were assigned at birth.
Likewise the Transgender Pride Flag is an umbrella symbol. It’s embraced by a wide range of minority gender identities. As such, it is the most commonly seen of the flags beyond the traditional rainbow flag.
The flag’s meaning is simple. Light blue is a traditional color for boys and light pink for girls. And white represents people who are intersex, transitioning or another gender.
Helms, a transgender navy veteran, created the flag in 1999 and it first flew at a Pride parade in Phoenix in 2000. You can see her original flag in the Smithsonian Natural Museum of American History.
Trigender Pride Flag
As the name implies, trigender people experience exactly three genders. They may feel all three at once or vary between them.
The flag’s meaning is simple. Pink stands for feminine genders, blue for masculine and green represents the range of non-binary genders.
Twink Pride Flag
Many different types of gay and bi men identify as twinks. But, in simple terms, a twink is usually in their late teens or 20s, slim and without facial or body hair.
As befits one of the largest gay subcultures, twinks have their own flag. However, it is nowhere near as well known as the bear equivalent (see above).
There doesn’t seem to be a definitive meaning to the flag’s colors. The pastel shades may indicate a youthful, bright aura.
Meanwhile the interlocking male symbols, meanwhile, are a long-established sign of gay male attraction. (The astronomical symbol for Mars stands for men, Venus for women.)
Two-Spirit Pride Flag
Two-Spirit is a modern, pan-Indian term to describe people who have been part of Native American culture for countless generations.
Simply, Two-Spirit people have both a male and female spirit within them and see life through the eyes of both genders. Many indigenous communities not only accepted these two-spirit, or third-gender, people but gave them a ceremonial role in their culture.
Two-Spirit is often confused by outsiders with being ‘gay Indian’ or ‘LGBT+ Native American’. But the term was created to preserve the cultural history of these particular LGBT+ Native Americans, rather than for the whole community.
The flag’s simple design combines the traditional rainbow flag with a double feather.
Straight Pride Flag
We’ve saved the worst for last. The ‘Straight Pride Flag’ is different from all others on this page in two ways.
Firstly, it doesn’t attempt to represent most straight people. It stands for a narrow group of straight people who, mysteriously, feel threatened by LGBT+ people’s existence and want to protest against us.
Secondly, the other flags all appear to have been created in a positive spirit. They are designed to build communities, help people find their identities and spread unity and love. The straight flag’ is designed to encourage hate and create division.
The simple black and white stripe version, a mockery and opposite of Gilbert Baker’s rainbow design, is the most common version. Alternatives are similar, with shades of grey, black and white.
The Ally Flag (see above) is, of course, the LGBT+ supportive antidote to this from straight, cisgender people.