Learn the Meaning Behind the Symbols
Hampton Roads Pride proudly displays a number of umbrella, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and intersectionality pride flags at our events across our region. Each flag is a symbol that means something to at least one member of our community. Each flag is treated with respect and dignity as it represents people, their history, future, interests, and even their struggles, rights, and varying needs. Each color represents the diversity of the community in addition to the spectrum of human sexuality and gender.
6-Color Pride Flag
The 6-Color Pride Flag is one of the most well-known and used LGBTQIAP+ flags throughout history. This flag includes the colors red, orange, yellow, green, indigo, and violet on it.
The original Gilbert Baker and Lynn Segerblom flag included eight colors and was designed by request of the first openly gay man elected to public office – Harvey Milk, who was a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Each of the original eight colors had their own unique symbolism. Hot pink represented sex, red represented life, orange represented healing, yellow represented sunlight, green represented nature, turquoise represented magic and art, indigo represented serenity, and violet represented spirit.
Hot pink wasn´t included in the fabrication of the 6-color pride flag because the fabric was hard to find. The demand for the 6-color flag started to rise after the assassination of Harvey Milk on November 27, 1978.
In 1979, the flag was modified again. Aiming to decorate the street lamps along the parade route with hundreds of rainbow banners, Gilbert Baker decided to split the motif in two with an even number of stripes flanking each lamp pole. To achieve this effect, he dropped the turquoise stripe that had been used in the seven-stripe flag. The result was the six-stripe version of the flag that would become the standard for future production.
The remaining colors represent life, healing, sunlight, nature, serenity, and spirit. Beyond the meaning of the the colors themselves, the flag is a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer pride and reflect the diversity of the community in addition to the spectrum of human sexuality and gender.
Philadelphia Pride Flag
The Philadelphia Pride Flag came out in response to the demand of more inclusivity across the LGBTQIAP+ community. The flag launches in 2017 as part of the “More Color More Pride” Campaign in Philadelphia and was designed by a small Philly-based PR agency.
The addition of black and brown stripes to the traditional pride flag symbolized people of color, who historically were not always included in aspects of the mainstream gay rights movement.
Lena Waithe, an American actress, wore the Philadelphia Pride Flag as a cape at the 2018 Met Gala. She is a powerful advocate for black people within the entertainment industry and this flag spiked in popularity after she elevated its visibility.
New Progress Pride Flag
Given the evolving nature of the LGBTQIA+ community and society at large, the Progress Pride Flag integrates many of these flags into one. Thankfully, it has been redesigned to place a greater emphasis on “inclusion and progression.” Our community is such a huge umbrella of different kind of people and that is what makes us so special, that is what makes us so unique and that is what makes us so powerful.
The modern pride flag now includes stripes to represent the experiences of people of color, as well as stripes to represent people who identify as transgender, gender nonconforming (GNC) and/or undefined.
Daniel Quasar’s flag includes the colors of the trans flag, as well as black and brown stripes harkening back to 2017 Philadelphia Pride Flag, which sought to further represent the queer and trans identities of black and brown people. Those two stripes also represent those living with HIV/AIDS, people who have passed from the virus and the overall stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS that remains today.
In 2021, the Progress Pride Flag was revised by Valentino Vecchietti of Intersex Equality Rights UK to incorporate the intersex flag. In the new design, the chevron of the Progress Flag includes a yellow triangle with a purple circle in the middle.
The New Progress Pride Flag is considered a “universal” flag encompassing the entire LGBTQIAP+ community and is one of the most common flags flown by Hampton Roads Pride since it recognizes the entire community in one symbol.
The Transgender Flag was first created in 1999 by Monica Helms, a transgender woman. Light blue and pink are featured because they’re the traditional colors associated with baby boys and girls, respectively. The white stands for those who are intersex, transitioning or those who don´t feel identified with any gender.
Transgender people have a gender identity or gender expression that differs from the sex that they were assigned at birth. According to Amnesty International, 1.5 million transgender people live in the European Union, making up 0.3% of the population. And more than 1.4 million trans adults living in the U.S., which is about 0.5% of the population.
Violence against the queer community affects trans people of color the most. Therefore, the Transgender Flag is so important! The trans community needs representation and resources to be visible without fear.
The agender pride flag, created by Salem X in 2014, has seven horizontal stripes. The black and white stripes represent an absence of gender, the gray represents semi-genderless, and the central green stripe represents nonbinary genders.
Gender Fluid Flag
Gender Fluid people often desire to remain flexible about their gender identity rather than committing to a single definition. They may fluctuate among different gender expressions over their lifetime or express multiple aspects of various gender markers simultaneously, such as feeling more feminine or masculine, bi-gender or agender, maverique or neutrois, and demigender or polygender. A genderfluid person may also identify as bigender, trigender, or pangender.
Created by JJ Poole in 2012 to represent folks whose gender identity and expression is fluid and may fluctuate at different times or in different circumstances, the Gender Fluid flag consists of five stripes, pink, white, purple, black, and blue. It is believed that Poole created the flag so that the gender-fluid community could have a symbol other than the genderqueer flag.
In 2014, Kye Rowan created the Nonbinary Pride Flag to represent people whose gender identity does not fit within the traditional male/female binary. The colors of the nonbinary flag are yellow, white, purple, and black. The colors each symbolize a different subgroup of people who identify as nonbinary.
Yellow signifies something on its own or people who identify outside of the cisgender binary of male or female. A cisgender person would be a person whose gender identity matches their sex assigned at birth. White, a color that consists of all colors mixed, stands for multi-gendered people. Purple, like the lavender color in the genderqueer flag, represents people who identify as a blending of male and female genders. Finally, black (the absence of color) signifies those who are agender, who feel they do not have a gender.
Some non-binary/genderqueer people use gender-neutral pronouns. Usage of singular ‘they’, ‘their’ and ‘them’ is the most common.
This flag went through a variety of iterations before the current Intersex Flag emerged. Previous versions embraced the rainbow that is often associated with queer pride, while others used colors like blue and pink, which are found on the transgender flag.
In 2013, Morgan Carpenter chose the colors yellow and purple for the intersex flag. Morgan moved away from the rainbow symbolism and selected these colors because neither is associated with the social constructs of the gender binary.
The circle, perfect and unbroken, represents the wholeness of intersex people. It is a reminder that intersex people are perfect the way they are or choose to be.
The Flag for the Asexual Community was created in 2010 by the Asexual Visibility and Education Network. Asexual is the lack of sexual attraction to others, or a low interest in sexual activity, but asexuality can mean different things to different people, it is best to ask each individual what it means to them. For some people, it may mean that they rely on other types of attraction instead of or in place of sexual attraction.
Asexual can be an umbrella term and each color in this flag also represents something unique. Black stands for asexuality. Gray represents demisexuality, for those who develop sexual attraction to someone only after forming a deep emotional bond with them. White stands for the allies of the community. Purple represents the entire community of asexual folks
The Bisexual Pride Flag was created in 1998 by Michael Page. His idea for the flag represents pink and blue blending to make purple. The way that bisexual people can blend into the straight community and the gay community.
The colors of the flag also represent attraction to different genders. The pink symbolizes attraction to the same gender, while the blue represents attraction to a different gender. The purple represents attraction to two or more genders, the definition of bisexuality.
The Pansexual Flag was created in 2010. Pansexuality represents those people who feel attracted to a person without thinking about gender. Pansexual people may refer to themselves as gender-blind, asserting that gender and sex are not determining factors in their romantic or sexual attraction to others. This means that they can feel attraction to those who identify as women, men, both or neither.
The pink on the flag represents attraction to women, blue represents attraction to men, and yellow stands for attraction to those who don’t identify with either gender.
Pansexuality may be considered a sexual orientation or a branch of bisexuality, to indicate an alternative sexual identity. Because pansexual people are open to relationships with people who do not identify as strictly men or women, and pansexuality therefore rejects the gender binary, it is often considered a more inclusive term than bisexual.
The Lesbian Flag is one of the flags fewer people know about. This flag features different shades of pink and sometimes comes with a red kiss on it to represent lipstick lesbians.
This flag was created by Natalie McCray in 2010. Some lesbians oppose this flag because of its exclusion of butch lesbians but no other flag has as much popularity as this one.
In the new flag, the colors Darkest Orange represent Gender nonconformity, Middle Orange: Independence, Lightest Orange: Community, White: Unique relationships to womanhood, Lightest Pink: Serenity and peace, Middle Pink: Love and sex, Darkest Pink: Femininity.
Gender Queer Pride Flag
The Gender Queer pride flag was created by the advocate and genderqueer writer Marilyn Roxie in 2011. The flag has three horizontal stripes: lavender, white, and dark chartreuse green. The lavender, a mix of pink and blue which traditionally represents women and men, expresses queer identities and androgyny. White represents gender-neutral and agender identities. Chartreuse represents identities that aren’t in the gender binary and the third gender.
A genderqueer does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions but identifies with neither, both, or a combination of male and female. Gender queer is similar to non-binary but has a slightly different meaning. It is sometimes used as an umbrella term to cover any identity that isn’t cisgender.
Straight Ally Flag
The Straight Ally flag is using the black-white “colors” of the heterosexual flag as a field, it adds a large rainbow colored “A” (for “Ally”) to indicate straight support for the Gay Pride/Equal Marriage movement.
A straight ally or heterosexual ally is a heterosexual and/or cisgender person who supports equal civil rights, gender equality, LGBTQIAP+ social movements, and challenges homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. A straight ally believes that LGBTQIAP+ people face discrimination and thus are socially and economically disadvantaged.