“To demonstrate solidarity and unity for a common cause, and to graphically represent their vision, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups over the years have used a variety of symbols.” – algbtical.

1. The history of The Rainbow Flag

The Rainbow, or Gay Pride, Flag was created by artist and vexillographer Gilbert Baker, who was a friend of the late Harvey Milk, in 1978.

The flag debuted at the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade and the original version of flew in the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade on June 25th, 1978. Since then it has been used around the world as a symbol of LGBT unity in many different versions, including guisessuch as bumper stickers and decals.

The Rainbow Flag is recognized by Congress of Flag Makers and lives in the public domain. There is hardly a better way to symbolize a social or political movement than with color and many historical movements can easily be identified with a single image or flag which strongly involves the use color. It is appropriate then that one of the brightest social movements is symbolized by a rainbow.

The LGBT movement was first symbolized by the pink triangle, which was originally used as a stigma by the Nazis. In World War II it was used as a badge of shame and though it has been re-appropriated it still retains a negative connotation. The pink triangle was used to identify homosexuals in concentration camps, and it wasn’t until 1978 that Gilbert Baker designed what is now known as the symbol for the LGBT movement – The Rainbow Flag.

Although it was first used in Nazi Germany, the pink triangle only received widespread use as a gay pop icon in the early 1980s..

“The pink triangle dates from Nazi-era stigmatization of homosexual prisoners by forcing them to wear the pink triangle much as Jews had to wear the yellow star. The pink triangle was never used, at least for gays, before the nazis, as far as I know. The use now is an attempt to turn a stigma into a mark of pride”(sic) – Christopher Pinette, 12 Jun 1996

“The pink triangle was never used, at least for gays, before the nazis, as far as I know. The use now is an attempt to turn a stigma into a mark of pride.”  – Al Kirsch , 30 Jun 2002.

The multi-cultural symbolism of the rainbow is nothing new. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition also embraces the rainbow as a symbol of a political movement. The rainbow also plays a part in many myths and stories related to gender and sexuality issues in Greek, Native American, African cultures.

2. Pink triangle flags (gay pride)*

Pink Triangle with a white background

pink-triangle-with-a-white-background

Image by Jorge Candeias, 30 June 2002

 

The triangle, flown as a “gay” flag, is usually shown on white. Queer Nation’s transgender focus group, Transgender Nation, created T-shirts and banners based on the pink on white version.
Anne Ogborn, 12 December 2005

Pink Triangle with a black background

Image by Jorge Candeias, 30 March 2005

Image by Jorge Candeias, 30 March 2005

 

The local variants I have seen of this flag (Baltimore and District of Columbia, United States) are black with an inverted pink triangle.
Steve Kramer, 1 July 2002

A similar design is the organizational symbol of Queer Nation.
Anne Ogborn, 12 December 2005

The Act Up pink triangle flag(Pink Triangle with text “SILENCE = DEATH”)

Image by Jorge Candeias and António Martins-Tuválkin, 30 March 2005

Image by Jorge Candeias and António Martins-Tuválkin, 30 March 2005

 

A further variant sets the triangle slightly closer to the top edge to make room for the inscription “SILENCE = DEATH” in white underneath, a political statement obviously alluding to the mentioned pride symbolism.
Steve Kramer, 1 July 2002

The pink triangle on black is actually an organizational symbol for Act Up, a direct action organization fighting against the bureaucratic stupidity and homophobia that have killed so many during the AIDS crisis. The version with “SILENCE = DEATH” is particularly their symbol.
Anne Ogborn, 12 December 2005

The “SILENCE = DEATH” slogan is not so much an allusion to the Nazi persecution, but to society’s alleged silence about AIDS; the slogan is (obviously) of recent vintage.
Al Kirsch, 1 July 2002

Pink Triangle on olive background

Image by Jorge Candeias, 30 March 2005

Image by Jorge Candeias, 30 March 2005

 

Olive green (or olive drab) field with a large triangle, point down, centered on the flag; the triangle striped red-orange-yellow-green-blue-purple, i.e. the colors of the basic Gay Pride Flag. Dimensions appeared to be 2 feet at the hoist by 3 feet on the fly, with the triangle about 18 inches high, i.e. half the hoist dimensions. Seen in Provincetown, the US East Coast’s gay Mecca.

Tom Gregg, 20 August 2001

Pink Triangle on the hoist of a Rainbow flag

Image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 31 May 1999

Image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 31 May 1999

 

A pink triangle is sometimes located at the hoist of the Pride Flag.
Don Hagemann, 4 May 1996

Pink Triangle on the canton of a Rainbow flag

Image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 31 May 1999

Image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 31 May 1999

 

I’ve seen this in several variations, the two extremes of it being with a longer triangle extending to the middle of the flag and the other having the shorten triangle.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 31 May 1999

Pink Triangle on the canton of a Rainbow flag

Transparent canton variant

transparent-canton-variant

Image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 16 January 2000

 

The Pink triangle in the upper hoist, usually pointed upwards, is an often used variation.
Steve Kramer, 6 May 1996

Blue canton variant

Image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 16 January 2000

Image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 16 January 2000

 

Often the pink triangle appears in a canton of blue or black. Blue is an obvious play off the US flag.
Steve Kramer, 6 May 1996

Black canton variant

Image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 16 January 2000

Image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 16 January 2000

 

Black is a color associated with lesbianism, thus a black triangle on pink is sometimes used as a lesbian symbol.
Steve Kramer, 6 May 1996

Four Pink Triangles on the canton of a Rainbow flag

four-pink-triangles-on-the-canton-of-a-rainbow-flag

Image by Tomislav Todorovic, 14 June 2015

 

Flags with four pink triangles on a blue canton were seen at the Stonewall Pride Parade in Columbus, Ohio on 16 June 2012. The photos are available here and here. The triangles are arranged alternating, two pointing upwards and two pointing downwards, and the blue stripe is visibly darker than the canton.
Tomislav Todorovic, 14 June 2015

Pink Triangle in the center of a Rainbow flag

Image by Tomislav Todorovic, 14 June 2015

Image by Tomislav Todorovic, 14 June 2015

 

The triangle may also be placed in center of the flag. Such flags were seen in Derry (Londonderry), Northern Ireland on 17 August 2013, during the demonstration in solidarity with the LGBT population of Russia and on 28 March 2014, during the demonstration for equal marriage in Northern Ireland.

*Information credited to CRW flags

3. Color shade variations

The flag does not have official specifications and these variations have been noted:

On the 30th of June 2005 The World on BBC4 reported on the legalization of gay marriage in Spain. During the broadcast there were several shots of people carrying and waving the gap pride rainbow flag. However, the colors were slightly different with a lighter blue and a much darker indigo color used to denote two of the rainbow stripes. Courtesy André Coutanche, 30 June 2005.

Colors of the Cause

The flag does not have official specifications and these variations have been noted:

“On the 30th of June 2005 The World on BBC4 reported on the legalization of gay marriage in Spain. During the broadcast there were several shots of people carrying and waving the gap pride rainbow flag. However, the colors were slightly different with a lighter blue and a much darker indigo color used to denote two of the rainbow stripes.” Courtesy André Coutanche, 30 June 2005.

Courtesy: lovemystarfire

Courtesy: lovemystarfire

 

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4. What does The Rainbow Flag Signifies

Image by António Martins, 20 April

Image by António Martins, 20 April

A symbol of pride

The rainbow flag is thesymbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered pride. It signifies pride at having not only survived, but thrived in a world which has often been a hostile place. It signifies pride in being who you are, and being proud to stand up for what you believe in.

A symbol of hope

In addition to being the symbol of pride, the rainbow is a symbol of hope. Tremendous progress has been made in the fight for equal rights. Step by step, lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people are obtaining recognition as equal members of Canadian society, in big cities and in towns and villages across Canada and the world. Things are not perfect, but the progress being made is extraordinary and the rainbow affirms our hopes for an even better future.

A symbol of diversity

The rainbow is a symbol of diversity. Although myths and stereotypes portray all gays and lesbians as having a single, monolithic “agenda”, the reality is that ours is an extraordinarily diverse community. Across all races and cultural backgrounds, across all languages, with or without disabilities, across all religions, our communities continue to flourish.

Why should you support the fight for equality?

• Because the government will not allow us to marry the person of our choice;

• Because people are still denied jobs, promotions or denied accommodation because of their sexual orientation;

• Because gay teenagers are disproportionately at risk of suicide;

• Because people are still beaten or murdered for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered;

• Because we are still made to feel uncomfortable when holding the hand of a partner while walking down the street;

• Because our materials are still censored by the government and banned from schools;

• Because our relationships remain unrecognized in hundreds of federal, state, provincial and territorial laws.

To view the original sources of this information please visit these sites:

crwflags
About Relationships
wikipedia
colourlovers
pflagdetroit.
lovemystarfire
Algbtical

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