How to Be a Better Ally, Part 4: Pride Flags

Part 4 of our series on “How to Be a Better Ally” reviews the history of the Pride flag as well as a few other LGBTQ+ Pride flags.

Table of Contents

  • Part 1: What Does Being an Ally Mean?
  • Part 2: Breaking the Binary
  • Part 3: History of Pride
  • Part 4: Pride Flags (current)
  • Part 5: Things You Can Do (next)

Pride Flags

Original Pride Flag (1978)

The Pride flag has been a symbol of the LGBTQ+ community since 1978 when Gilbert Baker designed the original, 8 color flag for San Francisco’s Gay Freedom Day parade.

The original flag colors included (hot pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for spirit).

You may be thinking “but the rainbow flag only has six stripes” and you’d be *partially* correct. First, the pink stripe was dropped because it was too costly to manufacture. Then, in 1979, in order to have an even number of stripes on the flag so that they could be hung vertically on San Francisco light poles, the turquoise and indigo stripes were replaced with a single blue stripe.

Philadelphia Pride Flag (2017)

Philadelphia released a new version of the Pride flag in 2017 in response to a clear problem the city was having with racism. The new flag includes a black and brown stripe at the top of the traditional 6 colors to represent people of color. This new flag was an attempt to spur discussions and to visibly include the brown and black community into Pride events which have, historically, not been overly welcoming to them.

Progress Pride Flag (2018)

On June 7, 2018, Daniel Quasar launched a Kickstarter to promote and sponsor his new Pride flag design. Taking cues from the Philadelphia Pride flag, the Progress Pride flag includes black and brown stripes to represent people of color, but also includes white, pink, and blue stripes to represent the trans community.

Quasar wrote on his Facebook account that the original six colored stripes “should be separated from the newer stripes because of their difference in meaning, as well as to shift focus and emphasis to what is important in our current community climate.”

Both the Philadelphia Pride flag and the Progress Pride flag have met their fair share of praise and criticism from both sides who embrace the new representation and those who feel the original flag already represented all LGBTQ+ peoples.

Other Pride Flags

Many sub-groups of the larger LGBTQ+ community have flags that represent their specific, individual identities. Some of those flags are listed below.

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