June is Pride month, a time of celebration for the LGBTQIA+ community!
You may be familiar with the traditional rainbow pride flag, but did you know that there are many different flags that represent many different sexualities and gender identities? Here are just a few of them:
How has the Pride flag evolved over time? Here’s a little bit of queer pride flag history, courtesy of The Complete Guide to Queer Pride Flags by Ariel Sobel. Check out the article for even MORE LGBTQIA+ Pride flags!
Gilbert Baker Pride Flag
In 1977, Harvey Milk challenged Gilbert Baker, a veteran who taught himself to sew, to come up with a symbol of pride for the gay community. His response? The original Pride flag. Inspired by Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow,” these colors flew at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade celebration on June 25, 1978. Though some dispute whether Baker was the sole creator of the flag that started it all, its symbolism remains. Each color celebrates an aspect of queer Pride:
Hot pink = Sex
Red = Life
Orange = Healing
Yellow = Sunlight
Green = Nature
Turquoise = Magic/Art
Indigo = Serenity
Violet = Spirit
1978-1999 Pride Flag
After the assassination of Harvey Milk, many wanted the Pride flag he commissioned to commemorate his accomplishments for the community and their personal support. The demand was greater than the available fabric, so the Paramount Flag Company began selling this version of the flag, as did Gilbert Baker, who had trouble getting hot pink fabric.
Traditional Gay Pride Flag
This is the most familiar flag. In 1979, the community landed on this six-color version, which was hung from lampposts in San Francisco. Numerous complications over having an odd-number of colors led to turquoise being dropped, at least according to reports. Read more about the modern flag here.
Philadelphia People Of Color Inclusive Flag
Noting that queer people of color are often not fully included in the LGBT community, the city of Philadelphia added two colors — black and brown — to the Pride flag in their honor. The city had previously faced accusations of racial discrimination in its gay bars, which led 11 queer nightlife venues to take antiracism training. Many white men were outraged by the flag, claiming that rainbow includes all skin colors, but with a star like Lena Waithe donning it at the Met Gala, it seems the design is here to stay.
Progress Pride Flag
This new flag seeks to take Philadelphia’s inclusive approach a step further. Daniel Quasar, who identifies as queer and nonbinary, designed this flag. The white, pink, and light blue reflect the colors of the transgender flag, while the brown and black stripes represent people of color and those lost to AIDS. “When the Pride flag was recreated in the last year to include both black/brown stripes as well as the trans stripes included this year, I wanted to see if there could be more emphasis in the design of the flag to give it more meaning,” Quasar explained on his Kickstarter.
Here’s a great article about the history of Pride month for those interested in learning more about the origins of this month of queer love, resistance, and celebration!