A Brief History of the Pride Flag

By FPL_RyanC

June is Pride month throughout the US and with it comes the many symbols associated with Pride. Probably the most common symbol for the LGBTQ+ community is the Pride flag. But where did it come from? What does it stand for? And how has it transformed since its first iteration back in the late 1970’s?

Original Pride Flag

The first Pride flag was created by vexillographer Gilbert Baker and in 1978 at the request of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in the state of California. The original flag included eight stripes that were (descending from the top) pink, red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, indigo, and violet. Each of the colors had different meanings and representations for the community, such as orange symbolizing healing, green symbolizing nature, and indigo symbolizing serenity. The flag’s first official appearance was at the San Francisco’s Gay Freedom Day Parade in 1978.

Updated 1979 Pride Flag

It was only one year before the flag changed to the more frequently used, six-color striped flag that we see today. The change occurred because of the difficulty in manufacturing and dying of the pink and turquoise fabrics and were therefore removed.

Philadelphia's "More Colors More Pride" Flag

The 1979 flag was used for approximately the next 40 years until 2017. The Philadelphia Office of LGBT Affairs released the Philadelphia Pride flag. This flag added black and brown stripes to the top of the flag to recognize and include people of color to the LGBTQ+ community.

Progress Pride Flag established in 2018

In the following year, an artist in Portland, Oregon helped design the Progress Pride Flag which included the black and brown colors to represent the people of color as well as the pink, white, and blue stripes to reference the Trans Pride flag.

In addition to the Pride Flag having multiple changes throughout the years, there have also been flags designed to help represent individual groups within the LGBTQ+ community. Below are examples of additional flags.

Bisexual Flag

The three striped Bisexual flag includes magenta (representing attraction to same sex), blue (representing attraction to opposite sex), and purple (representing an overlap of the magenta and blue stripes).

Asexual Flag

The Ace or Asexual flag is four stripes, black (representing asexuality), gray (representing demisexuality), white (representing non-asexual allies and partners), and purple (representing community).

Lesbian Flag

The Lesbian flag features seven stripes which include dark orange (representing gender nonconformity), orange (representing independence), light orange (representing community), white (representing unique relationships to womanhood), light pink (representing serenity and peace), pink (representing love), and dark pink (representing femininity).

These are just a few of the flags representing the wide array of identities and sexualities within the LGBTQ+ community. These flags have been progressing since their introduction and will continue to progress to help include everyone within the community.

Check out these titles for more information about the Gay Rights Movement:

The Gay Revolution


The Deviant's War

The Savvy Ally


The Stonewall Riots

The Right Side of History

To learn more on this topic, check out our sources: