Pride Month

What You Don't Know About the Iconic Rainbow Flag and Other LGBTQ Flags

There are also several other flags that represent people who identify as lesbian, asexual, pansexual, demisexual, intersex, gender-fluid, agender, aromantic, nonbinary and polyamorous.

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This story originally appeared on LX.com

The iconic rainbow flag is the universal symbol for LGBTQ Pride today, but it wasn't always.

Until the late 1970's, the pink triangle was the symbol for the gay movement, despite its dark history. According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the inverted triangle was originally used as an identifier for gay men in concentration camps during World War II. It placed a stigma on gay prisoners, similar to how the Star of David was used against Jewish people.

The triangle, however, was reclaimed by the LGBTQ community and used as a symbol of power decades later.

But many people, including Gilbert Baker, wanted a symbol for the community that was innately positive - thus the birth of the rainbow flag.

Artist Gilbert Baker, designer of the Rainbow Flag, is draped with the flag while holding a banner that reads "Boycott Homophobia" before the start of the St. Patrick's Day parade, Monday, March 17, 2014 in New York.

According to the Gilbert Baker Foundation, Baker designed and created the first rainbow flag in 1978. Baker was a vexillograpaher, or flag maker, for more than 40 years before passing away in 2017.

The original rainbow flag had 8 colors: pink, red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, blue and violet. Each color represented something significant: sex, life, healing, sunlight, nature, magic, serenity and spirit.

But the flag has changed over time.

After the assassination of gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk in November 1978, demand for the flag increased. To keep up, the Paramount Flag Company, where Baker worked, dropped the hot pink stripe.

According to the GLBT Historical Society Museum and Archives, the flag was modified again in 1979 because the middle stripe was obscured when the flag hung on lamp posts. Baker's way to fix the problem was to create an even-numbered flag - dropping another color, turquoise. That change created the six-stripe version of the flag that we all know today.

But, it's not the only flag that represents LGBTQ+ folks.

A transgender flag being waved at LGBT gay pride march

For example, the transgender flag was created in 1999 by trans woman Monica Helms. It has three colors: blue, pink and white. The blue stripe represents boys, the pink represents girls and the white is for people who are transitioning or are gender-neutral.

Philadelphia people of color inclusive flag pin on a denim jacket for LGBTQ identity, pride, and activism. The intersectional flag design is public domain for all uses.

Philadelphia's People of Color Inclusive flag added black and brown stripes to the top of rainbow flag in 2017. The addition was intended to give representation to people of color within the LGBTQ community.

A bisexual pride flag is seen in the Chronicle photo studio on Wednesday, January 22, 2020 in San Francisco, Calif.

The bisexual flag has pink, blue and lavender stripes that represent same-sex attraction, opposite-sex attraction and attraction to both sexes.

There are also several other flags that represent people who identify as lesbian, asexual, pansexual, demisexual, intersex, gender-fluid, agender, aromantic, nonbinary and polyamorous.

Each flag represents the various needs and experiences of these communities, and as the LGBTQ movement continues to grow, so may the number of flags.

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