There is hardly a better way to symbolize a social or political movement than with color. Many historical movements can be easily identified with a single image or flag that, more often than not, strongly involves color. So it is appropriate that one of the brightest social movements is symbolized by the rainbow.
The LGBT movement was first symbolized by the pink triangle, which was originally used as a stigma by the Nazis to identify homosexuals in concentration camps, and it wasn't until 1978 that Gilbert Baker designed what is now known as the symbol for the LGBT movement, The Rainbow Flag.
The Rainbow Flag
fuschia - Sexuality
Red - Life
Orange - Healing
Yellow - Sunlight
Green - Nature
Turquoise - Magic
Blue - Serenity
Violet - Spirit
Color has long played an important role in our community's expression of pride. In Victorian England, for example, the color green was associated with homosexuality. The color purple (or, more accurately, lavender) became popularized as a symbol for pride in the late 1960s - a frequent post-Stonewall catchword for the gay community was "Purple Power". And, of course, there's the pink triangle. Although it was first used in Nazi Germany to identify gay males in concentration camps, the pink triangle only received widespread use as a gay pop icon in the early 1980s. But the most colorful of our symbols is the Rainbow Flag, and its rainbow of colors - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple - represents the diversity of our community.
The first Rainbow Flag was designed in 1978 by Gilbert Baker, a San Francisco artist, who created the flag in response to a local activist's call for the need of a community symbol. Using the five-striped "Flag of the Race" as his inspiration.
Baker soon approached San Francisco's Paramount Flag Company about mass producing and selling his "gay flag". Unfortunately, Baker had hand-dyed all the colors, and since the color "hot pink" was not commercially available, mass production of his eight-striped version became impossible. The flag was thus reduced to seven stripes.
In November 1978, San Francisco's gay community was stunned when the city's first openly gay supervisor, Harvey Milk, was assassinated, Wishing to demonstrate the gay community's strength and solidarity in the aftermath of this tragedy, the 1979 Pride Parade Committee decided to use Baker's flag. The committee eliminated the indigo stripe so they could divide the colors evenly along the parade route - three colors on one side of the street and three on the other. Soon the six colors were incorporated into a six-striped version that became popularized and that, today, is recognized by the International Congress of Flag Makers.
- From the Gaze Magazine article The Rainbow Flag, by Steven W. Anderson
Six Striped Version
Other Sexuality And Gender Identity-Based Cultural Flags
Magenta - Sexual attraction to the same sex
Royal Blue - Sexual attraction to the opposite sex
Lavender - Sexual attraction to both sexes
Michael Page designed the flag in 1998 in order to give the bisexual community its own symbol, comparable to the successful use of the rainbow flag by the entire LGBT community. His aim was to increase the visibility of bisexuals, both among society as a whole and within the LGBT community.
The magenta (pink) stripe at the top of the flag represents sexual attraction to the same sex only (gay and lesbian); the royal blue stripe at the bottom of the flag represents sexual attraction to the opposite sex only (straight); the stripes overlap in the central fifth of the flag to form a deep shade of lavender (purple), which represents sexual attraction to both sexes (bi).
- Bisexual Pride Flag from Wikipedia
Light blue - Traditional color for baby boys
Pink - Traditional color for baby girls
White - Those who are transitioning
The Transgender Pride flag was designed by Monica Helms, and was first shown at a pride parade in Phoenix, Arizona, USA in 2000.
The flag represents the transgender community and consists of five horizontal stripes, two light blue, two pink, with a white stripe in the center.
Monica describes the meaning of the flag as follows:
The light blue is the traditional color for baby boys, pink is for girls, and the white in the middle is for those who are transitioning, those who feel they have a neutral gender or no gender, and those who are intersexed. 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.
- Transgender Pride Flag from Wikipedia
Header image by By ndm007