What Is the Rainbow Pride Flag & What Does It Mean?

A flag waves with horizontal strips in the colors of the rainbow pride flag, from top to bottom: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.

While you’ve almost certainly seen a rainbow flag flying high in your community — or in your emoji keyboard — have you ever stopped to think about the meaning behind them?

For members of the LGBTQ+ community, it certainly doesn’t need to be Pride Month to embrace these banners — which represent and celebrate the diverse range of identities and experiences among the LGBTQ+ community

To fully honor those experiences, it’s important to know the significance of these queer symbols — starting with one of the world’s most well-known Pride flags: The Rainbow Pride Flag.

→ Explore the full list of all LGBTQ+ Pride flags

By the way, we’ve included some links to be able to buy this flag — and some of the links may include affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. 

About the Rainbow Pride Flag

History

The "6-Color" Rainbow Pride Flag is an edited version of Gilbert Baker’s original Pride Flag.While Baker’s first design originally included eight colors, two colors were later removed — hot pink and turquoise — for price and practicality reasons. 

This led to the birth of the 6-Color Rainbow Flag in 1978. This design became the most popular iteration of Baker’s design, up until the rise of more inclusive flags, like the Progress Pride Flag, which entered the scene just a few years ago.

But for decades, the Rainbow Pride Flag was the unquestioned symbol of the LGBTQ+ community. Its space in history also aligns with major queer history events, including the assassination of gay San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk in 1978, as well as the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s. 

Both of these events contributed to LGBTQ+ resistance movements, and the Rainbow Pride Flag was the empowering symbol that unified the community. 

Baker himself was a staunch activist and became an icon in the community for his contributions as a flag maker. He even consulted on and had a cameo in the 2008 film “Milk.” 

“I didn’t even think twice about what the flag would be. A rainbow fit us. It’s from nature; it connects us to all of the colors, all of the sexualities, all of the diversity of our community,” Baker said in a 2009 interview.

Baker continued his life of advocacy up until his death in 2017. His legacy includes a memoir titled “Rainbow Warrior: My Life in Color,” as well as the Gilbert Baker Foundation, which educates future generations about Baker’s flags and provides an archive of the impact Pride flags have had across the globe.

“Flags are torn from the soul of the people,” Baker said in 2007.

Colors

Horizontal stripes in the colors of the rainbow pride flag, from top to bottom: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.

The colors in Gilbert Baker’s 6-Color Rainbow Pride Flag each represent a different concept: 

  • Red: Life
  • Orange: Healing
  • Yellow: Sunlight
  • Green: Nature
  • Indigo: Serenity and harmony
  • Violet: Spirit

Get a Rainbow Pride Flag: Flags For Good | Amazon

We’ve provided links to Flags For Good, which donates a portion of each Pride flag sale to LGBTQ+ nonprofits and has a fully carbon neutral production and distribution process. Use our links to save 10% off your entire order.

(We’ve also included links to Amazon for accessibility purposes.)

Plus, learn more about other Pride flags:

Article Details

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