THE BIG BANG THEORIES SHELDON COOPER’S ‘FUN WITH GAY FLAGS’ FOR PRIDE MONTH by Doctor Sheldon Cooper.
In that most important month of the gay calendar when we take to the streets (where possible) to show our ‘Gay Pride’ our many flags are important to us and sometimes it is confusing so in this very special edition of ‘Fun With Flags’ we present the full simple breakdown for you.
THE PRIDE FLAG
It first appeared 25th June 1978. A pride flag is any flag that represents a segment or part of the LGBT community. Pride in this case refers to the notion of gay pride. The ‘rainbow flag’ is the most widely used LGBT flag and LGBT symbol in general. There are derivations of the rainbow flag that are used to focus attention on specific similar-interest groups within the community (for example the leather subculture). There are also some pride flags that are not exclusively related to LGBT matters, such as the polyamory flag. The terms LGBT flags and queer flags are often used interchangeably.
THE RAINBOW FLAG
The rainbow flag is a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBT+) pride and its movements, campaigns and venues. Also known in a casual slang way as the gay pride flag or even the LGBT pride flag, the colours reflect the diversity of the queer community. Using a rainbow flag as a symbol of gay pride began in San Francisco, but eventually became common the world over.
Originally devised by artist and activist Gilbert Baker, the design has undergone several revisions since its debut 43 years ago in 1978, first to remove colours then restore them based on availability of fabrics, logistics and changing times. Baker’s first rainbow flag had eight colours, though the most common variant now consists of six stripes: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. The flag is typically flown horizontally, with the red stripe on top, as it would be in a natural rainbow.
Up until 1978 gays used the symbol of the Pink Triangle as their own which was symbolic and came from the forced wearing of that item to indicate homosexuals imposed by the queer hating Nazi’s. In 1978 hugely encouraged by the very popular gay filmmaker Arthur J. Bressan Jr. pressed Baker to create a new wholly more positive symbol at “the dawn of a new gay consciousness and freedom”. Within a year Harvey Milk was killed and shortly after AIDS reared its ugly head and the requirement to show support became unquenchable and so uptake of the flag took off at lightning speed. The influence for the flags concept were either images from the 60’s hippie/counter culture gay friendly movement or possibly Judy Garlands song ‘Over The Rainbow’.
The original eight colours in order and what they represent are:
Hot Pink – Sex
Red – Life
Orange – Healing
Yellow – Sunlight
Green – Nature
Turquoise – Magic/Art
Indigo – Serenity
Violet – Spirit.
The flag was reduced to the most common 6 stripe variety and has been revised a number of times most recently up to 9 stripes at its 39th anniversary by Baker himself just a year before he sadly died adding lavender for ‘diversity’ in response to homophobe in chief Donald Trump’s election.
Gilbert Baker passed just 4 years ago in 2017 and is seen as a queer hero for all the ages and his flag flies continually all over the earth as well as above the pearly gates in heaven.
THE MODERN-DAY TRADITIONAL PRIDE FLAG
This is the famous 6 stripe variety seen everywhere today. Very simply in 1979 the original pink was removed due to sourcing that colour fabric being difficult and the turquoise was removed as odd numbered stripes made production difficult. It is still very much seen as the Baker flag.
THE MORE COLOUR MORE PRIDE FLAG
In 2017 the association of that name in Philadelphia produced the 8 striped flag to better represent people of colour by adding a Black and Brown stripe at the top.
THE PROGRESS PRIDE FLAG
A year later in 2018 Daniel Quasar who is queer and non-binary, produced the now well-known triangle indent from the left side version with the aim to “shift focus and emphasise to what is important in our current community climate.”. The 6 coloured stripes remained and were joined by chevron stipes of black and brown (see above) joined by light blue, pink and white to represent the Trans community and those that died of AIDS complications.
THE TRANSGENDER PRIDE FLAG
First appeared in 1999 has a white horizontal stripe surrounded by 2 pink stripes and the 2 blue ones.
THE GENDERQUEER PRIDE FLAG
Arrived 2011 with Lavender, White and Chartreuse Green stripes only.
THE GENDERFLUID PRIDE FLAG
It has 5 stripes – Pink, White, Lavender, Black and Blue.
OTHER PRIDE FLAGS
THE NON-BINARY PRIDE FLAG
THE AGENDA, DEMIGENDER or DEMISEXUAL PRIDE FLAGS
THE LESBIAN AND LESBIAN LABRYS PRIDE FLAGS
THE POLYSEXUAL, BISEXUAL, ASEXUAL, POLYAMORY, INTERSEX & PANSEXUAL PRIDE FLAGS.
THE GAY FETISH FLAGS
(Which we have featured in Alphatribe in detail and can still be found here online.)
These includes the Tony DeBlase designed absolute classic LEATHER FLAG with its heart on a bed of Black, Dark Blue and White horizontal stripes.The highly popular BEAR BROTHERHOOD FLAG with a bear paw over 6 stripes which kind of represent every shade of ursine beast sharing the planet with us also the less seen BEAR CULTURE FLAG. THE RUBBER FLAG designed in 1994 by Peter Tolos and Scott Moats has its unique sort of ‘Z’ type image. It is also known as the LATEX PRIDE FLAG. THE MASTER & SLAVE FLAG from 2005 with its striking 4 red blocks on a red background. THE PUP AND PUP PLAY PRIDE FLAGS – see a separate AT feature on these many varieties coming soon….And many more wonderful flags representing every tribe of fetish that exists.
It seems we have come a long way from the 50’s and early 60’s when we were criminalised and hidden away in word of mouth underground clubs and bedroom closets to the bright uplands of the 2020’s where we can (in many parts of the enlightened world anyway) wear, fly, purchase, paint and flaunt our favoured LBGTQ+ image with pride – and surely that is something to be proud off so get out there (safely) and have PRIDE this month in who you are, who you want to hang with, who you want to sleep with & fuck and celebrate what rights you have or still need to fight or campaign for…..shout it loud pride, Pride, PRIDE, P R I D E! as our time & total acceptance has surely come.