LGBT+ Rainbow Flag: What does the legendary flag mean and do the colours matter?
Ah Pride Month and suddenly there’s a sea of rainbow flags… everywhere. It seems that every corporate entity remembers that LGBT+ consumers exists and start their waving of rainbow flags, more often than not, making no effort to actually support LGBT+ charities, causes or prides.
Up until 2020, the standard, 6 stripe rainbow flag was the widely recognised world-wide symbol of the LGBT+ community. In 2020 it was co-opted by the Tory government to represent the NHS – during the COVID pandemic, despite the NHS, already having its own colour – a sort of cobalt blue.
Now, there are numerous flags which people can choose to wave, the original Gilbert Baker 8 stripe flag, the standard 6 stripe, the 8 stripe “Philly flag, which was introduced in 2017, and the 11 stripe “progress flag”, which includes colours for the transgender community and a black and brown stripe for the QTIPOC (Queer Trans and Intersex people of colour) community.
Which LGBT+ rainbow flag is the best flag to fly?
Of course, this is a hotly debated subject in some circles of the LGBT+ community. Some feel that the only way to go is with the original 8 stripe Gilbert Baker flag, while others feel that the new “progress” flag is the way to go because it recognises and centres people of colour and the transgender community, who have often been sidelined in LGBT+ history. Some however feel that even though it’s seen as progressive it can actually be more exclusionary than Gilbert Baker’s original design, which was created to replace the Nazi’s Pink Triangle, which at the time was the only other recognised symbol for the gay community.
Speaking about the design of the original rainbow flag, Gilbert Baker said, “There was no other international symbol for [the LGBT+ community] than the pink triangle which the Nazis used to identify homosexuals in concentration camps…. Even though the pink triangle was and still is a very powerful symbol, it was very much forced upon us”.
Each of the flags represents something slightly different and whichever you decide to fly is the right choice for you.
Do the colours of the LGBT+ Rainbow Flag mean anything?
What do they colours in the Rainbow Flag mean?
Yes, they do. When the flag was first unveiled, the artist Gilbert Baker created the flag with each colour representing a different area of life. Over the years the meanings of these colours has faded. The iconic symbol for the LGBT community made its debut in San Franciso in 1978. It was displayed at the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day parade in 1978.
It has since gone on to be recognised worldwide as the symbol for LGBT spaces, venues and pride.
Blue: Serenity/ Harmony
Where can I buy the Rainbow Flag?
There are tonnes of places to buy the Rainbow flag, but we’d also suggest to buy it from a store that actually supports the LGBT+ community and for extra marks buy directly from LGBT+ run and operated shops rather than auction sites or huge internet-based corporations. Stores like The Pride Shop have their very own Pride Fund which actively seeks to support local prides through a donation from each sale and the Gay Pride Shop which supports LGBT+ charities from some of their profits.