If you’re a person walking the earth in 2016, I’m sure you’ve laid eyes on at least one symbol of LGBT pride, most likely the rainbow flag. There are, however, a huge amount of different flags and symbols representing different identifications in the LGBT community, so my goal here is to provide some information and hopefully spread some awareness about the different images you might come across.
The rainbow flag is probably the most well-known and easily recognizable of the LGBT symbols. It’s so important because it represents the LGBT community as a whole, acting as a symbol of pride, hope, and diversity. According to stop-homophobia.com, it was created in 1978 by artist Gilbert Baker, who dyed, cut, and sewed the first flag himself.
Pictured here is the Victory Against AIDS Flag. Similar to the rainbow flag, it adds a seventh black stripe to represent those members of the community lost to AIDS.
This is the bisexuality flag. Side note: In case you’re not sure what exactly it means to be bisexual, please read my other post about understanding bisexuality. The top 40% of the flag (the pink part) represents same-sex attraction, while the bottom 40% (the blue) symbolizes heterosexual attraction, and the middle part, of course, represents attraction to both.
The trans flag is a symbol of pride for transgender people. According to point5cc.com, the colors were chosen specifically because light blue is often used to represent baby boys, light pink is traditionally used for baby girls, and the white stripe in the middle represents those who fall outside of the gender binary or who are intersex.
Of course, there are many more flags representing various genders and sexualities, such as intersex, pansexual, genderfluid, etc. Clare Bayley’s website gives has a great summary of all the different pride flags, which you can find here.
One LGBT symbol you may be familiar with is the inverted triangle. The three main versions of this are the pink triangle, representing homosexual men; the black triangle, representing homosexual women; and the bisexual triangles, which is a pink and a blue triangle overlapping, similar to the bisexual flag. These symbols originated in Nazi Germany, where gay men were labeled with pink triangles and lesbian women were often labeled with black triangles. Today, the inverted triangle has been reclaimed as a symbol of pride rather than one of shame.
Other common representations of the LGBT community are the gender symbols. These take the traditional male and female symbols and either link them together to represent sexualities or put them together to represent gender, like the transgender symbol shown to the left.
There are many, many other symbols that you may have seen. For example, the lambda is often used as a symbol of homosexuality. The yellow equal sign on a blue background is the symbol of the Human Rights Campaign, which is one of the most important organizations that supports the community. Bisexual people are often represented by two pink, blue and purple moons facing opposite directions. Hopefully, this post has provided some insight into what kind of symbols are used by the LGBT community!