May 23- July 1, 2022
During the month of June, in honor of Pride Month and the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, the City of Phoenix LGBTQ Employee Alliance has partnered with Phoenix Public Library to showcase a LGBTQ+ Pride Flag exhibit featuring 22 Pride flags that embody just some of the many aspects of the LGBTQ+ community. The Rainbow Pride flag, some might say, is the most iconic symbol of Pride, but more than 20 LGBTQ+ flags represent different sexualities and gender identities within the broader queer community and their allies.
So, why are there so many flags? Monica Helms, the creator of the Transgender Pride flag and a Navy Veteran says the following:
“I say the Rainbow flag is like the American flag: everybody’s underneath that. But each group, like each state, has their own individual flag.”
This exhibition features twenty 3 foot by 5 foot flags and two 5 foot by 8 foot flags. Each flag has its own story of who it represents and the significance of each color or symbol. These flags also give visibility to groups within the LGBTQ+ community that historically have not been represented in the mainstream gay rights movement.
The Show Your Colors: LGBTQ+ Pride Flag Exhibit is an opportunity for individuals to understand the differences among the diverse members of the LGBTQ+ community, and to provide an opportunity to challenge assumptions, prejudices, and stereotypes relating to the LGBTQ+ community.
City of Phoenix LGBTQ Employee Alliance in Partnership with Phoenix Public Library
1. Gilbert Baker Pride Flag (1977)
In 1977, Harvey Milk challenged Gilbert Baker, a veteran who taught himself to sew, to come up with a symbol of pride for the gay community. His response? The original Pride flag. Inspired by Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow,” these colors flew at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade on June 25, 1978.
The colors represent unique aspects of life, namely: pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for magic and art, indigo for serenity, and violet for spirit.
2. 1978 Pride Flag (1978)
If this LGBTQ flag looks familiar, that’s because it’s Baker’s design with one modification; the hot pink stripe in his original 1977 flag was removed, though not as a result of controversy over its meaning. After the murder of Harvey Milk, demand for the flag commissioned by Baker soared, but both Baker and the Paramount Flag Company, who manufactured the flag at the time, struggled with costs and supply for the hot pink stripe, and thus had to leave it out.
3. Traditional Pride Flag (1979), Gallery Window
It would take another year before the original Pride flag would complete its evolution. After losing its pink stripe in 1978, the turquoise stripe would meet the same fate in 1979. Though the reasoning for this is not clear, two primary theories for its removal emerged: the turquoise material, like the hot pink, was too difficult to obtain, or an even number of stripes was preferred. Nonetheless, the removal left the flag with six colored stripes, which still adorn the iconic flag today.
4. Polyamory Flag (1995)
When Jim Evans created the Polyamory flag in 1995, he wanted it to be a symbol – and sign – for people who identify as polyamorous. The flag is adorned with the mathematical symbol for pi, and three stripes of colors: blue for openness and honesty, red for love and passion, and black for solidarity with those who must hide their polyamorous relationships from the outside world.
5. Bisexual Pride Flag (1998)
The Bisexual Pride flag was designed by Michael Page in 1998 in order to give the bisexual community its own symbol comparable to the gay Pride flag of the larger LGBTQ+ community. His aim was to increase the visibility of bisexuals, both among society as a whole and within the LGBTQ+ community. The flag was inspired by an older symbol of bisexuality; the “bi-angles,” two overlapping pink and dark blue triangles.
6. Transgender Pride Flag (1999), Gallery Window
The Transgender Pride flag was created by American trans woman and Navy veteran Monica Helms in 1999, who at the time lived in Phoenix. The flag was first shown at a Pride parade in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2000. According to Ms. Helms, “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 stripe in the middle is white, for those who are intersex, transitioning or consider themselves having a neutral or undefined gender. The pattern is such that no matter which way you fly it, it is always correct, signifying us finding correctness in our own lives.”
7. Ally Pride Flag (late 2000’s)
Straight allies are people who support the LGBTQ+ community but do not themselves identify as LGBTQ+. Allies support equal civil rights, gender equality, LGBTQ+ social movements, and challenge prejudice and discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community. The black and white stripes are thought to symbolize the yin and yang of female and male, while the dominant rainbow chevron represents the letter “A” for ally. The Ally Pride flag was created sometime in the late 2000’s, though the specific creator or date is unknown.
8. Pansexual Pride Flag (2010)
The Pansexual Pride flag was designed as a symbol for the pansexual community to use. Created on the web in 2010, it is used to indicate that pansexuals have romantic attractions and relationships with people of different genders and sexualities. The flag is comprised of three stripes: pink represents women, yellow represents nonbinary and gender-nonconforming people, and blue represents men.
9. Asexual Pride Flag (2010)
Like the Pansexual flag, the Asexual flag was created in 2010. The Asexual pride flag consists of four horizontal stripes: black, gray, white, and purple from top to bottom. Black represents asexuality, gray represents the “gray area” between sexual and asexual, white represents sexuality, and purple represents community.
10. Genderqueer Pride Flag (2011)
The Genderqueer flag was designed by Marilyn Roxie, with input from the readers of Genderqueer Identities, in June of 2011. The three stripes represent the following: lavender for androgyny or queerness, white for agender identity, and green for identities defined outside the binary.
11. Genderfluid Pride Flag (2012)
Encompassing the fluctuations and the flexibility of gender in genderfluid people, the Genderfluid Pride flag features colors associated with femininity, masculinity, and everything in between. Pink stands for femininity, white represents lack of gender, purple represents the combination of masculinity and femininity, black symbolizes all genders, including third genders, and finally blue reflects masculinity. JJ Poole created the flag in 2012.
12. Polysexual Pride Flag (2012)
Polysexuality is the attraction to multiple genders, but not all. A middle ground between bisexuality and pansexuality, it is centered more around attractions to femininity and masculinity rather than gender itself. The pink represents attraction to femininity, and blue respectively symbolizes attraction to masculinity. The green stripe in the center is representative of attraction to those who don’t conform to a gender binary. This flag was also created in 2012.
13. Intersex Pride Flag (2013)
The Intersex flag was created in July of 2013 by Intersex Human Rights Australia to create a flag “that is not derivative but is yet firmly grounded in meaning.” This flag intentionally features nongendered colors that celebrate living outside the binary, comprised of a yellow background with a purple circle in the center. The circle is described as “unbroken and unornamented, symbolizing wholeness and completeness.”
14. Agender Pride Flag (2014)
The Agender Pride flag seeks to represent individuals who do not ascribe to gender or the idea of gender. The black and white horizontal stripes on the Agender Pride flag represent an absence of gender; the gray represents semi-genderlessness; and the single green stripe is meant to represent all nonbinary genders.
Designed by Salem X in 2014, the Agender Pride flag is meant to be reversible. Why? To accurately represent agender individuals who reject gender.
15. Aromantic pride Flag (2014)
The Aromantic flag represents people who either do not experience romantic attraction or do so in a nontraditional way. Two earlier versions of the flag existed, though it is not known when the first was created.
Both the second as well as the third and final version were designed in 2014. The color green appears in two shades on the flag to represent aromanticism, along with white to symbolize platonic attraction, gray to represent gray-aromantic and demiromantic people, and black to represent the sexuality spectrum.
16. Nonbinary Pride Flag (2014), Teen Central 4th Floor
Nonbinary is used to describe people who feel their gender cannot be defined within a binary, and instead see gender beyond simply identifying as either man or woman. The Nonbinary flag was created by 17-year-old Kye Rowan in 2014. Categorized by four horizontal stripes, yellow for gender outside of the binary, white for multiple or all genders, and purple for individuals who identify with masculinity, femininity, and fluidity in between both. Lastly, black represents the agender community, or those without a specific color in the rainbow flag.
17. Philadelphia Pride Flag (2017)
The Philadelphia Pride flag was created in response to the demand for more inclusivity within the LGBTQ+ community. The flag launched in 2017 as part of the “More Color More Pride” Campaign in Philadelphia. The addition of black and brown stripes to the traditional 6-stripe Pride flag symbolizes people of color who are often not represented in the queer community.
18. Lesbian Pride Flag (2018)
The Lesbian Pride flag, featuring seven different shades of pink, orange, white, and red, is flown as the official lesbian flag. In 2018, Emily Gwen designed this new version that added more shades of these colors: deep orange to celebrate gender non-conformity, bright orange for independence, light orange for community, white for unique relationships to womanhood, light pink for serenity and peace, bright pink for love and sex, and hot pink for femininity.
19. Two-Spirit Pride Flag (2016)
Some Indigenous Americans identify as two-spirit individuals – meaning they fall outside the male-female binary, and some use this to describe a person’s sexual, gender, and/or spiritual identity. The most commonly used Two-Spirit flag was designed online in 2016, and features two feathers to represent masculine and feminine identities, attached by a circle to symbolize their unification into a separate identity, set against the background of the 6 rainbow stripes.
20. Progress Pride Flag (2018)
The Progress Pride flag sought to take Philadelphia’s inclusive approach one step further. Daniel Quasar, who identifies as queer and nonbinary, designed this flag in 2018. The flag consists of the traditional 6 rainbow stripes, with the addition of a chevron at the top. The colors white, pink, and light blue represent the transgender flag, and brown and black to represent people of color and those lost to AIDS. About the flag, Quasar stated, “When the Pride flag was recreated in the last year…I wanted to see if there could be more emphasis in the design of the flag to give it more meaning.”
21. QPOC Pride Flag (2020)
Though the origin of the QPOC Pride flag is unknown, its popularity rose dramatically in 2020 as a sign of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. The flag represents queer people of color (QPOC) and how the black community and queer community are often intertwined, both now and in the earliest days of the Queer Liberation Movement.
Historically, the raised fist has served as an emblem of solidarity and support and was added to the traditional flag in various shades of brown and white to represent a “human rainbow.”
22. Demisexual Pride Flag
The Demisexual Pride flag represents a section of the asexual community that develops sexual attraction to someone only after forming a deep emotional bond with them. It’s unknown when, exactly, the flag was created, but includes four colors: black for asexuality, gray for demisexuality, white for sexuality, and purple for community.
Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction to others, or low or absent interest in or desire for sexual activity.
Genderqueer is of, relating to, or being a person whose gender identity cannot be categorized as solely male or female.
Genderfluid people are people whose gender changes over time and blends traditional concepts of masculinity and femininity.
Intersex is a general term used for a variety of situations in which a person is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the boxes of “female” or “male.”
Pansexuality is sexual, romantic, or emotional attraction towards people regardless of their sex or gender identity.
Transgender people are those whose gender identity and/or expression is different from cultural expectations based on the sex they were assigned at birth. Being transgender does not imply sexual orientation, and therefore trans people may identify as straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc.
“If I wait for someone else to validate my existence, it will mean that I’m shortchanging myself.”
-Zanele Muholi, South African activist
A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO PHOENIX PUBLIC LIBRARY FOR THEIR PARTNERSHIP AND SUPPORT OF THE PHOENIX LGBTQ EMPLOYEE ALLIANCE
Who We Are
The Phoenix LGBTQ-EA unites City of Phoenix LGBTQ employees and allies by providing a safe space through professional development and social networking. We achieve this by promoting high professional standards and opportunities. This includes but is not limited to: mentoring and developing professional relationships and opportunities with its members; offering a positive and inclusive environment; providing platforms, candid conversations, and resources to educate, empower, and unite employees around championing equality; and creating awareness among City employees about LGBTQ culture and history.
Phoenix LGBTQ Employee Alliance
200 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003