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The Rainbow Flag first appeared in 1978, when it was flown during the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade. Gilbert Baker, a San Francisco artist, designed the rainbow flag in response to a need for a symbol that could be used year after year. The original flag featured 8 colors, each with a distinct meaning assigned by Baker: Hot pink (Sex), Red (Life), Orange (Healing), Yellow (Sunlight), Green (Nature), Turquoise (Magic/Art), Indigo (Serenity), Violet (Spirit).
In 1979, the flag was modified again in order to decorate the two sides of the parade route, which resulted in a six stripe version of the flag we know today — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.
In October 2017, a rainbow LGBT flag was raised at the Stonewall National Monument, the first U.S. National Monument dedicated to LGBT rights and history, situated near the Stonewall Inn. It received its National Monument designation on June 24, 2016. This flag is the first officially maintained LGBT flag at a federal monument.
Graphic designer Daniel Quasar has added a five-coloured chevron to the LGTB Rainbow Flag to place a greater emphasis on "inclusion and progression".
It adds five arrow-shaped lines to the six-coloured Rainbow Flag, which is widely recognised as the symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities.
The flag includes black and brown stripes to represent marginalised LGBT communities of colour, along with the colours pink, light blue and white, which are used on the Transgender Pride Flag.
Quasar's design builds on a design adopted by the city of Philadelphia in June 2017. Philadelphia's version added black and brown stripes to the top of the Rainbow Flag, to represent LGBT communities of colour.
In addition to the black and brown stripes – which Quasar says also represent those living with AIDS, and those no longer living – he introduces the colours used on the Transgender Pride Flag.
Lesbian Pride Flag
After the lipstick lesbian flag, Tumblr blogger Emily Gwen created a design for a new lesbian flag in 2018. This flag retained the seven stripes from the lipstick flag, but changed the top set to orange shades. The stripes, from top to bottom, represent 'gender non-conformity' (dark orange), 'independence' (orange), 'community' (light orange), 'unique relationships to womanhood' (white) , 'serenity and peace' (pink), 'love and sex' (dusty pink), and 'femininity' (dark rose).
Following the Tumblr post where the 7-stripe design was voted on, a second version with a simplified five color design was introduced.
Bisexual Pride Flag
First unveiled on 5 December 1998, the bisexual pride flag was designed by Michael Page to represent and increase visibility of bisexuals in the LGBT community and society as a whole. This rectangular flag consists of a broad magenta stripe at the top, a broad stripe in blue at the bottom, and a narrower deep lavender band occupying the central fifth.
Page describes the meaning of the pink, lavender, and blue flag as this: "The pink color represents sexual attraction to the same sex only (gay and lesbian). The blue represents sexual attraction to the opposite sex only (straight) and the resultant overlap color purple represents sexual attraction to both sexes (bi)." He also describes the flag's meaning in deeper terms, stating "The key to understanding the symbolism of the Bisexual pride flag is to know that the purple pixels of color blend unnoticeably into both the pink and blue, just as in the 'real world,' where bi people blend unnoticeably into both the gay/lesbian and straight communities."
Pansexual Pride Flag
The pansexual pride flag was introduced in 2010. It has three horizontal bars that are pink, yellow and blue. The pink band symbolizes women; the blue, men; and the yellow, those of a non-binary gender, such as agender, bigender or genderfluid.
Asexual Pride Flag
This flag was created in 2010. The flag consists of four horizontal stripes: black, grey, white, and purple from top to bottom. The black stripe represents asexuality, the grey stripe representing the grey-area between sexual and asexual, the white stripe sexuality, and the purple stripe community.
Demisexual Pride Flag
A demisexual person does not experience sexual attraction until they have formed a strong emotional connection with a prospective partner. The definition of "emotional bond" varies from person to person. In the demisexual flag, the black chevron represents asexuality, gray represents gray asexuality and demisexuality, white represents sexuality, and purple represents community.
Aromantic Pride Flag
Aromantic (often shortened to aro) means someone who does not experience romantic attraction. Romantic attraction is defined as the desire to be in a romantic relationship and/or do romantic acts with a specific person. The aromantic flag is a five striped flag with dark green and light green representing aro-spec identifies, white representing friendship, and grey and black representing the spectrum of sexual identifies in the aromantic community.
Transgender Pride Flag
The Transgender Pride Flag was designed by transgender woman Monica Helms in 1999, which was first shown at a pride parade in Phoenix, Arizona, US in 2000. It was flown from a large public flagpole in San Francisco's Castro District beginning November 19, 2012 in commemoration of the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The flag represents the transgender community and consists of five horizontal stripes: two light blue, two pink, with a white stripe in the center. Helms described the meaning of the flag as follows:
"The stripes at the top and bottom are light blue, the traditional color for baby boys. The stripes next to them are pink, the traditional color for baby girls. The white stripe is for people that are nonbinary, feel that they don't have a gender." The pattern is such that no matter which way you fly it, it is always correct, signifying us finding correctness in our lives.
Philadelphia became the first county government in the U.S. to raise the transgender pride flag in 2015. It was raised at City Hall in honor of Philadelphia's 14th Annual Trans Health Conference, and remained next to the US and City of Philadelphia flags for the entirety of the conference. Then-Mayor Michael Nutter gave a speech in honor of the trans community's acceptance in Philadelphia.
Non-Binary Pride Flag
The non-binary flag was created in 2014 by activist Kye Rowan. Each stripe color represents different types of non-binary identities: Yellow for people who identify outside of the gender binary, white for nonbinary people with multiple genders, purple for those with a mixture of both male and female genders, and black for agender individuals.
Under the non-binary umbrella are all those who identify off the gender binary. There are many different identities within this category including androgyny, genderqueerness (which includes agender, ceterosexual, gender fluid, intergender), third gender, and transgender.
Genderqueer Pride Flag
A person who is genderqueer identitfies outside of the a cisgender identity or the gender binary. A term that came into being before "nonbinary;" the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably. A way to understand this term is that "queer" is often used as an umbrella term for someone/anyone whose sexual orientation identifies outside of heterosexuality, so this term adds "gender" to signify they identify outside of cisgender/gender binary structures. This flag was created in 2011, but its creator is unknown. The stripes on the flag have the following meanings: lavender for a combination of masculinity and femininity, white for a questioning of gender or a neutral gender, green for genders which are defined outside of masculinity or femininity
Genderfluid Pride Flag
Within the transgender umbrella, gender fluid is a subgroup in the genderqueer community. The genderfluid flag consists of five stripes. This flag represents the fluctuations and flexibility of gender in gender fluid people. The first stripe is pink which represents femininity or feeling female. The second stripe is white, representing the lack of gender. The third stripe is purple and represents a combination of masculinity and femininity including various degrees of androgyny. The fourth stripe is black and represents all other gender, third genders, and pangender. The final stripe is blue and represents masculinity or feeling male. Various social media users are attributed with creating this flag.
Intersex Pride Flag
The intersex flag was created by Morgan Carpenter of Intersex Human Rights Australia in July 2013 to create a flag "that is not derivative, but is yet firmly grounded in meaning". The organization describes the circle as "unbroken and unornamented, symbolising wholeness and completeness, and our potentialities. We are still fighting for bodily autonomy and genital integrity, and this symbolises the right to be who and how we want to be".
Between 0.05% and 1.7% of the population is estimated to have intersex traits.
October is an important month for the community, which marks the observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history, as well as the history of the gay rights movement and related civil rights movements.
The Matthew Shepard Foundation was started to honor his life and aspirations. The purpose of the Foundation was to teach parents with children who may be questioning their sexuality to love and accept them for who they are, and to not throw them away. The Foundation has helped pioneer the country’s first federal hate crimes legislation with the passing of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009.
The National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, held on October 14, 1979, was inspired in part by the assassination of openly gay California politician Harvey Milk. The five issues the march supported included the end of anti-homosexual laws and a push for a ban on discrimination in the federal government based on sexual orientation. Thousands of people attended and the event nationalized the movement for gay rights.
LGBTQ youth disproportionately face bullying and harassment because of their identities. Each year, millions go purple for Spirit Day to support LGBTQ youth in a united stand against bullying. Pledging to “go purple" on Spirit Day is a way for everyone — global and local brands and companies, world leaders, celebrities, neighbors, parents, classmates, and friends — to visibly show solidarity with youth and to take part in the largest, most visible LGBTQ anti-bullying campaign in the world.
International Pronouns Day seeks to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace.
Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects transgender and gender nonconforming people.
Solidarity (Ally) Week is a national youth-led effort empowering students to be allies against anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) bullying, harassment and name-calling in K-12 schools and collegs.
LGBT History Month celebrates the achievements of 31 lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender Icons. Each day in October, a new LGBT Icon is featured with a video, bio, bibliography, downloadable images and other resources.