Colors of the Cause: LGBT Movement

Colors of the Cause: LGBT Movement

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.

By gregmce

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


Video Interview With Gilbert Baker
Gilbert Baker's Site

Header image by By ndm007

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Showing 1 - 15 of 15 Comments
What's with these green (and yellow) baby blankets?

It's A Girl!
It's A Boy!
It's A Girl!?!?!

Great article :)
6 stripes, with black at the top
Straight Pride
I did know some of this but it was nice to read a little more of the history and see what they intended all the colours to mean. I'm such a sucker for all those hidden meanings and things, and it's nice to see what thought was put in it. ^^

I must say, I like the Bisexual Pride Flag, with the lavender running through the middle.
great post I had no idea about how this came about
i am proud to say that i am bi, and i totally support our troops! **** the government, and let free love reign!
no segregation

Bisexual, homoromantic and proud.
hehehe.. and here is my version of it for butch dykes!
butch rainbow
Hey, great post!
I'm gay and proud, nice to get the history of the movement out.
Gross! I used to love drawing rainbows when I was a kid. Now it just has a nasty stigma attached to it. The article didn't mention that the flag was really created as an affront to the religious community. The LGBT, or whatever they're calling themselves now, hijacked a religious symbol to get back a those who they believed were attacking them. It wasn't created for this whole "we are all part of the same fabric of life " concept. I'm from San Francisco, I know something about it.
What an awesome post!

If colors are to symbolize love, then love must in turn be recognized as colorful-- fuck bigotry!
codename_gimick wrote:
fu** bigotry!

Way to love those bigots! :)

Diversity to me means that everyone has a place in this world. Spread compassion, not hate.

Wonderful post. I'm all for expressing love and awareness through color.

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