This is what all the different Pride flags actually mean

Each flag represents a different sub-group within the wider LGBTQ+ community

Pride month is well and truly underway, celebrating all things LGBTQ+ and foregrounding the issues that most affect the community.

The month is also an opportunity to look back at the rich history of LGBTQ+ liberation, from the Stonewall Uprising in the USA in 1969 to the present day.

Over the course of the past 50 years there have been many Pride flags, representing different sub-groups within the community, aiming to raise awareness of their often unique needs.

Here’s what all the different Pride flags actually mean:

Gilbert Baker Pride flag


Credit: Wikimedia Commons

American politician and gay icon Harvey Milk asked Gilbert Baker to make a Pride flag in 1977. Baker came up with this beauty, inspired by Judy Garland’s Over the Rainbow. Each colour symbolises different things.

Pink is for sex, red is for life, orange is for healing, yellow is for sunlight, green is for nature, turquoise is for magic or art, indigo is for serenity and violet is for spirit.

As part of The Tab’s Pride series, we want to uncover the full extent of discrimination at unis, based on someone’s sexuality or gender identity.

Take our short, confidential homophobia on campus survey now and help us uncover the scale of the problem at unis.

1978-1999 Pride flag


Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Following the assassination of Milk in 1978, the rainbow flag was widely adopted as a symbol of the gay community. A new flag was commissioned for the 1979 Gay Freedom Day Parade, but apparently the colour pink wasn’t available, hence the reason it isn’t included on the flag.

Traditional Rainbow flag

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

This is your classic rainbow flag. They’ve basically just merged the two purples together, most likely because it’s cheaper to make. The flag is now the main flag for the LGBTQ+ community, and what a flag it is.

Philadelphia People of Colour Inclusive Flag


Credit: Wikimedia Commons

This flag was created in 2017 to give better representation to LGBTQ+ people of colour.

Progress Pride flag

This flag was created in 2018 to combine the Philadelphia flag with the trans flag.

QPOC flag

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Although the original creator of this flag is not known, the Queer People of Colour flag was created in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Trans Pride flag


Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The colours of the Trans Pride flag are also significant with the pink representing women, the blue men and the white neutral.

Bisexual flag

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The pink of this flag is for same-sex attraction, the blue is for opposite-sex attraction, while the purple symbolises the attraction to both sexes.

Lesbian flag

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The colours of the lesbian flag represent a variety of things ranging from femininity to gender non-conformity.

Asexual Flag

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Here, the black stands for asexuals while the grey represents both greysexuals, who are somewhere between asexual and sexual, as well as demisexuals who only become sexually attracted to people after achieving an emotional connection. The purple section of the flag represents community.

Demisexual Flag

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

This flag has the same colours of the asexual flag, just with a slightly funkier design.

Intersex Flag

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

This yellow flag with a purple circle in the centre was designed in 2013 and has come to represent the intersex community.

Lipstick Lesbian Flag

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

This rarer flag was created in 2010 and represents lesbian femmes.

Lesbian Labrys Flag

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Although not widely used, this flag has a double-headed axe on it which is pretty cool.

The flag represents feminism and strength, while the upside down triangle references the badge gay people were forced to wear in Nazi Germany.

Gender Fluid Flag

Credit: Martial Red / Shutterstock

This flag represents those whose gender shifts between different identities.

Pink represents femininity, white represents all genders, purple represents both masculinity and femininity, black represents a lack of gender and blue represents masculinity.

Polyamory flag


Credit: Michiru13 / Shutterstock

Polyamorous people can have infinite partners, hence why the infinite number pi is embossed on their flag.

The gold represents an emotional connection rather than sexual love.

Genderqueer flag


Credit: Wikimedia Commons

This flag represents people who don’t go along with what society thinks they should do based on the gender they were given when they were born.

The lavender represents androgyny, the white is for agender identities, while the green is for non-binary people.

Pansexual flag


Credit: Wikimedia Commons

This flag represents people attracted to people regardless of their gender.

The Tab’s Pride reporting series is putting a focus on highlighting LGBTQ+ issues and celebrating queer voices across UK campuses.

If you or someone you know has been affected by this story you can contact Switchboard, the LGBTQ+ helpline, on 0300 330 0630 or visit their website. You can also find help through The Mix

If you’ve got a story you’d like to tell us – whether it’s an incident of homophobia on campus, an experience you’d like to share, or anything you think we should hear, get in touch in confidence by emailing [email protected]

Read more from The Tab’s Pride series:

• 41 homophobic things straight people say every day without realising

• What is ‘rainbow-washing’? How to tell if it’s happening to you

• Take this quiz to find out how much you actually know about LGBTQ+ history