Gay Pride Flags: A Brief History from CARE

Did you know that there are over 20 different LGBTQ flags?

Each has their own meaning and tell a story of individuals and groups within the LGBTQIA+ community, represented by the various colors in stripes, shapes, and symbols.

The Gilbert Baker Pride Flag is the first rainbow flag designed by activist and artist, Gilbert Baker. Baker was challenged to create a symbol of pride for the gay community after meeting Harvey-Milk, politician and gay rights activist. Milk become the first openly gay elected official [1977] to hold a visible position in a major US city, San Francisco. Milk’s time in office was tragically cut short after being assignation only one year later, November 27, 1978.

The Gilbert Baker Pride Flag made its first appearance at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade on June 25, 1978.

The first rainbow flag had eight colors, with each having a special meaning. Pink = sex. Red = life. Orange = healing. Yellow = sunlight, Green = nature, Turquoise = magic/art, Indigo = serenity, Violet = spirit. The Traditional Gay Pride Flag include six stripes (minus the pink and turquoise)


Over the years, various flags were designed to represent LGBTQ people as symbols of pride that helped provide visibility within social movement, with the June 1969 Stonewall-Riots as a catalyst to social change in the fight against discrimination.

The Philadelphia Pride Flag included black and brown stripes to the Traditional Gay Pride Flag to symbolize people of color. This flag made its first appearance June 8, 2017. A more inclusive version, the Progress Pride Flag, designed by Daniel Quasar in 2018 included white, pink, and light blue striped chevron design. Pink and light blue represent the traditional colors associated with baby girls and boys while white represents those who are intersex, transitioning, or non-binary. Black and brown stripes represent both people of color and those who are lost due to AIDS.

Flags such as the Bisexual Flag, Pansexual Pride Flag, Asexual Flag, Polyamory Flag, and Intersex Flags were created to increase visibility of bisexual, pansexual, asexual, polyamorous, and intersex individuals.

The Genderfluid Pride Flag, created by JJ Poole in in 2013 consists of five horizontal strips to represent gender. Femininity = pink, Lack of gender = white, Both masculinity & femininity = purple, All genders = black, Masculinity = blue. The Genderqueer Flag, designed by Marilyn Roxie in 2011 includes the color lavender to represent androgyny/ queer identities, white to represent agender identities, and green to represent outside the binary.


Additional flags to represent specific subcultures such as the Leather Pride Flag, Rubber Pride Flag were created as well as specific flags representative of sexual or romantic attractions such as the Polysexual and Aromantic Flags. Pride flags that represent communities such as the Straight Ally Pride Flag, Lesbian Pride Flag, Demisexual Pride Flag, and Two-Spirit Pride Flag were also created. The flag is a beautiful representation of pride and identities within the LGBTQIA+ communities. At CARE Counseling, we pride ourselves on being an LGBTQ+ ally, where all are welcome.

If you are a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and often feel stressed, anxious, or depressed, you are not alone. Our clinicians understand that your experiences are important and that intersectionality can affect your experience in therapy. This year, CARE is excited to be a proud sponsor of Twin Cities Pride.

We would love to meet you!

You can also schedule an appointment with an LGBTQIA-friendly counselor here.

Written by: Charlotte Johnson, MA, LPCC

We’re Here to help

Our wellness experts will be happy to take care of you. You can CLICK HERE to schedule an appointment now or call (612)223-8898.

Meet Clinicians

We’re united by our commitment to providing effective, relevant, and innovative mental health support at all stages of your journey. Click Here to find out more about who we are, where we come from, and how we live out CARE’s mission every day.

The professionals at CARE are actively collecting and creating resources to help with what you need. We’re Here for You.