The Flags of Pride

The Flags of Pride

12 min read
Two men embracing in front of a rainbow colored background

This June, we want to celebrate with you Pride Month all month long!  For the people who live under a rock, Pride Month is a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community, tolerance, acceptance, and freedom, and a celebration against discrimination, judgment, and societal exclusion. Many people throughout human history had to endure hate, harassment, discrimination, social exclusion, and even their death due to their sexual or romantic orientation or gender identity.

Many people in the LGBTQ+ community still experience discrimination and harassment to this present day. That's why it’s essential to support and celebrate diversity and tolerance more than ever!

Pride Month is not only a celebration of the LGBTQ+ culture via organized activities, festivals, and art but also a reminder of ongoing inequality issues, discrimination, and lives lost through HIV/AIDS and hate crime.

Two gay men embracing with a rainbow backdrop
Vector artwork by Maddi Zoli.

Why is Pride Month Celebrated in June?

Pride Month is celebrated during June in remembrance of the Stonewall Uprising, a crucial event in LGBTQ+ history that paved the way for the Pride movement.

In the 60s, it was considered against the law to be gay. Presenting yourself in public as an openly gay or genderqueer person was deemed disorderly conduct by law.  Due to these regulations, opening a gay bar was prohibited by law.

On June 28, 1969, the police violently raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular bar in the local LGBTQ+ community of Manhattan. The LGBTQ+ community stood up against police violence. Even several days after the event, riots and protests were happening on the streets of Manhattan.   And that triggered the pride and LGBTQ+ movement in the United States.

One year after the Stonewall uprising, on June the 28th, 1970, thousands of gay and genderqueer people and their supporters gathered in the streets of Manhattan for the  Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day March, the first known event celebrating gay pride.

In remembrance of the events in Manhattan from 1969 to 1970 in June, Pride month is celebrated in this particular month of the year.

The Flags of the LGBTQ+ community

As you might know, almost every group of romantic and sexual orientation or gender identity is represented by an official pride flag. We want to show you a brief overview of some of these flags, their bold shades, and explain their history and meaning.

“Flags are torn from the soul of the people.” Gilbert Baker, 2007

We’ve included a downloadable color palette for every flag at the end of each chapter. Let’s start with the legendary flag that started it all:

The LGBTQ+ Pride Flag!

The Pride Flag

The most famous and recognizable flag of the LGBTQ+ community is the Pride flag. This is the first flag that was created to represent the pride of the LGBTQ+ community. The flag was designed by the designer, political activist, and vexillographer (flag maker) Gilbert Baker in 1978.

Baker was living as an openly gay man and wanted to create a flag that represented the pride of the LGBTQ+ community. Baker created the flag as a symbol of the Gay Rights Movement after the assassination of Harvey Milk. He was an openly gay man elected to office in San Francisco. His assassination sent shockwaves of shock and outrage through the LGBTQ+ community.

The rainbow flag was first displayed publicly on June 25, 1978, during the Freedom Day Parade in San Francisco. Before the rainbow flag was designed by Baker, the symbol for the gay community was the pink triangle used on openly gay men during the time of the Holocaust.

The Original Pride Flag


But, if you think the flag always looked like it does now, think again! The first version of the legendary flag had originally eight stripes in the colors hot pink, red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, indigo, and purple.

Eight horizontal stripes in rainbow colors
The original eight-stripe version was designed by Gilbert Baker (1978). Image source: Wikipedia

The hot pink symbolized sex, and red healing, and the color yellow symbolized the sun. Green represented nature, turquoise symbolized creativity and art, and deep navy blue represented harmony, serenity, and violet spirit.

The Seven-Color Pride Flag

Baker first revamped the Pride Flag in 1978-1979; he removed the pink stripe, a decision caused by fabric shortages.

Seven horizontal stripes in rainbow colors
Seven-stripe version with hot pink color removed due to a lack of fabric (1978–1979) Image source: Wikipedia


In 1979, Baker reduced the flag further to six stripes, and the turquoise color was removed and replaced with royal blue.

Six horizontal stripes in rainbow colors
Six-stripe version with turquoise color removed and indigo color changed to royal blue (1979–present) Image source: Wikipedia

Fabric shortages played again a role in reducing the flag stripes further. Another reason to whittle down the stripes was that Baker wanted an even number of stripes so that the flag could be split, and both halves could be hung on two sides of the streets on poles during the pride parade.

The Philadelphia Pride Flag

In 2017 Philadelphia revamped the flag by including a black and a brown stripe on top of the flag. These two new stripes represent people of color in the LGBTQ+ community. The flag was designed by the advertising agency Tierney for the Philadelphia Office of LGBT Affairs. The Flag was first publicly displayed at the City Hall ceremony in 2017.

Eight horizontal stripes in rainbow colors
The PhThe Philadelphia Pride Flag. Image source:iladelphia Pride Flag. Image source: Phillymag

The flag was designed after several racist incidents in the gay community of Philadelphia became a public item.  The intention was to bring attention to the fact that people of the LGBTQ+ community and people of color suffer higher rates of HIV and AIDS cases, homelessness, and violence.

The Modern Pride Flag (The Progress Pride Flag)

Portland designer Daniel Quasar developed the progress Pride flag in 2018, which included the six stripes in the colors of the current Pride flag but integrated five arrow-shaped stripes on the left side of the flag that crosses the six horizontal stripes from the original pride flag. Quasar mentioned that the triangular shape symbolizes the progress and movement of the contemporary LGBTQ+ movement.

Eight horizontal stripes crossed by 5 triangular stripes in rainbow colors
The Modern Pride Flag. Image source: Gaystarnews

Portland designer Daniel Quasar developed the progress Pride flag in 2018, which included the six stripes in the colors of the current Pride flag but integrated five arrow-shaped stripes on the left side of the flag that crosses the six horizontal stripes from the original pride flag. Quasar mentioned that the triangular shape symbolizes the progress and movement of the contemporary LGBTQ+ movement.

He included the brown and black stripes from the Philadelphia Pride Flag in the triangle but added the new colors white, baby blue, and pink.  White, baby blue, and pink are the colors of the transgender flag. The progress pride flag symbolizes the evolution of the LGBTQ+ movement that now includes all sexual orientations, ethnicities, and gender identities.  The new flag is a tribute to the movement's founders but simultaneously includes the POS and Trans community.

Vector image of a man with white hair holding a rabbit
This artwork by Jaye Kang /@jcomik portrays Tu’er Shen, a Chinese deity who represents homosexual people. His name translates to “Rabbit Deity”.

Even the Progress Pride Flag continues to evolve; a new Flag is in the making by Designer Valentino Vecchietti. The new flag includes the yellow triangle with a purple circle from the intersex community flag.

The Transgender Pride Flag

The Transgender Pride Flag, with its five horizontal stripes in Baby blue, pink and white, was designed in 1999 by transgender activist and Navy-veteran Monica Helms and was first publicly displayed in the year 2000 at the Phoenix, Arizona, USA Pride parade.

Six horizontal stripes in baby blue, pink and white.
The Transgender Flag. Image source: lgbtqia.fandom.com

The stripes are ordered that the flag can be flown in both directions, a symbol for a trans person finding truth and correctness in themselves.

The baby blue symbolizes masculinity, the pink femininity, and white those transitioning or feeling gender-neutral or non-binary.

The Asexual Pride Flag

The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) initiated the design of a flag for the asexual community in 2010. By vote, a flag was chosen with four horizontal stripes in the colors black, gray, white, and purple.

Four horizontal stripes in black, grey white and purple.
The Asexual Pride flag. Image source: lgbtqia.fandom.com

The black color symbolizes asexuality, and the white color represents sexuality. The grey color represents the in-between space between asexuality and sexuality, and the purple band represents community.

The Intersex Pride Flag

Intersex people are born with reproductive anatomy that does not conform to the standard binary definitions of a male or female body.

The Flag for the Intersex community was designed by Morgan Carpenter from Intersex Human Rights Australia (IHRA) in 2013.

Purple circle on a yellow background
The Intersex Flag. Image Source: lgbtqia.fandom.com

The organization wanted to create a unique flag that did not refer to existing flags. They wanted to design a flag without blue and pink, colors that are generally viewed as gendered; that’s why the choice fell on yellow.

According to Carpenter, the ring symbolizes wholeness, completeness, and human potential.

"The circle is unbroken and unornamented, symbolizing wholeness and completeness and our potentialities. We are still fighting for bodily autonomy and genital integrity, which symbolizes the right to be who and how we want to be." Morgan Carpenter

The Gay Men Pride Flag

The flag representing gay men was first posted on the Tumblr blog gayflagblog in 2019. The original flag for gay men contained only a variation of blue shades and was perceived by the gay community as a stereotypical depiction of male gender identity. The new flag should represent all gay men, including transgender, asexual, aromantic, or non–binary gay men.

Seven horizontal stripes in green and blue tones, tints and shades.
The Gay men's pride flag. Image source: Wikipedia

The newly designed flag consists of seven stripes: green, teal, light teal, white, light blue, purple, and indigo.  The green color represents the community, teal healing, light teal joy, and white represents non-binary and trans men. The pale blue symbolizes pure love and purple fortitude, and the indigo color at the bottom stands for diversity.

…there are so so many different ways to be a man and so many ways to be a man who loves or who is in a relationship with other men, and this needs to be emphasized" lgbtqia.fandom.com

The Nonbinary Pride Flag

Originally, Marylin Roxie designed a genderqueer flag with three horizontal stripes in distinctive colors such as lavender, white and green to represent all nonbinary and genderqueer people. Over time, the flag represented more the genderqueer community than the community identifying as nonbinary.

In 2014 the desire for a flag only representing the nonbinary community was fulfilled by Kye Rowan, who designed the new Nonbinary Pride Flag 2014. The flag was designed by Rowan as an addition to the genderqueer flag and not as a replacement.

Four horizontal stripes in yellow, white, purple and black.
The Non-binary pride flag: lgbtqia.fandom.com

The color scheme of the non-binary flag has four horizontal bands of color: yellow, white, purple, lavender, and black.  Yellow represents an identity outside the binary gender definition; purple represents those who conform to it. White represents the people identifying as multigender, and the color black represents those who identify as agender.

The Pansexual Pride Flag

The most used pansexual pride flag was designed in 2010 by Jasper V. The flag has three horizontal stripes, magenta on the top, a gold-yellow stripe in the middle, and a light blue stripe at the bottom.

Three horizontal stripes in hot pink, yellow and blue.
The Pansexual Pride flag. Image source:lgbtqia.fandom.com

According to Jasper, the colors pink and blue are used due to their gendered associations, and yellow as a non-gendered color represents the non-binary community. Others defined these three colors as representing the communities that identify as female, non-binary, and male. Jesse Gunslinger designed an alternative flag for the Pansexual community in 2020 with three horizontal stripes in green, yellow, and orange. Jasper designed the flag as he disagreed with the support of bi-lesbians in the pansexual community.

The Bisexual Pride Flag

LGBT activist Michael Page designed the Bisexual Pride Flag in 1998. The flag was created to give the bisexual community its own flag, comparable to the rainbow gay pride flag. Page intended to make the bisexual community more visible in society.

Three horizontal stripes in hot pink, lavender and royal blue.
The Bisexual Pride flag.Image source: outrightinternational.org

The Bisexual pride flag has three horizontal stripes in extra-warm pink, purple and royal blue. Page took the inspiration for the colors from the previously existing symbol of the biangles (bisexuality triangles). Liz Nania created the biangles for the Boston Bi Woman’s community.

Pink signified the sexual attraction to the same sex (lesbian and gay)  and the opposite sex (straight), and the color purple created by the overlap symbolized the bisexual attraction.  A reference to this symbol is the pink triangle, which was used to designate and trace homosexual people during the Nazi regime.

Two intersecting triangles in hot pink and royal blue.
The Biangles. Image source: lgbtqia.fandom.com

Another previously existing symbols of the bisexual community were the bisexual crescent moons, created in 1998 by Vivian Wagner. A symbol designed to avoid the traumatic connotation of the nazi regime with the pink triangle in the biangles symbol.

Two crescent moons in a gradient form pink to royal blue.
The bisexual Crescent Moons. Image source: lgbtqia.fandom.com

The Lesbian Pride Flag

Below, you can see an image of the Lesbian Community pride flag. The flag is composed of five horizontal stripes in dark orange, light orange, white, light pink, and dark pink. The dark orange stands for transgressive womanhood, the light orange for the lesbian community. Pale pink symbolizes freedom, the attraction to women, and dark pink love.

Five horizontal stripes in dark orange, light orange, white, pale and dark pink.
Lesbian Pride Flag Image source: Wikipedia

The Flag design was chosen in the "Official Lesbian Flag Poll" on Tumblr in 2018. Below, you can see several variations of the official Lesbian Pride community Flag:

Three flags stacked vertically in reddish, pinkish , white and nude colors with lipstick stains.
Design transformation from the original "Cougar Pride Flag" by Fausto Fernós, to the variation, the "The Official Lipstick Lesbian Flag" by Natalie McCray, to the "pink flag" with stripes only. Image source: lgbtqia.fandom.com

Wrapping Up

In Vectornator you can create your personal color palettes or import the downloadable color palette assets contained in this article (.swatches format) via drag and drop directly into Vectornator.

Here you can get the exact color codes for the Pride flags!

Watch the video below to learn how to create, save and import color palettes in Vectornator!

If you want to read more about color palettes in Vectornator visit our Learning Hub section.

We hope that we could inspire you to create your own artwork with the bold color palettes of the LGBTQ+ community pride flags. Just download the latest version of Vectornator to get started and share your artwork with us on our social media or community art gallery!

We will continue to shower you in June with Blog articles, and social media content with bright colors to celebrate pride month together, so stay tuned!

It´s a human birthright to love and be whomever you want! Happy Pride Month to everyone! Let’s celebrate!

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