A Complete Guide To All The LGBTQ+ Flags & What They Mean

Illustrated by Hannah Minn.
Most people know what the LGBTQ+ pride flag looks like. The six-color rainbow flag shows up everywhere during LGBTQ+ pride month in June (sometimes with a few extra colors). If you're in a city, you'll likely see rainbows in shop windows, and no matter where you live, you'll probably run across a few rainbow-washed logos from your favorite brands on social media during Pride month. But show up to a Pride parade, and it's more than just the rainbow flag that you'll see. The rainbow is only one of many.
While the rainbow flag works as a general flag for all LGBTQ+ people, other parts of the queer community — transgender people, asexual people, bisexual people, genderqueer people, and more — have created their own flags. Separate flags are necessary so that non-queer people and even queer people who aren't a part of those groups can recognize that LGBTQ+ doesn't just mean gay — it means pansexual, non-binary, intersex, and many more identities that fall after the 'Q' in the acronym. As Monica Helms, creator of the transgender pride flag, put it, “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.”
The flags also give communities a sense of pride. And visible symbols of pride and support can be powerful, as LGBTQ+ activists know well. We can think of no better way to celebrate every facet of the LGBTQ+ community than by letting all of their flags fly. Read on to see what each LGBTQ+ flag looks like, and the important sexual orientations and gender identities they represent.

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