(Most) LGBT flags, ranked

Guanaco @ Wikimedia Commons

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It’s LGBT History Month, and to commemorate that fact The Tab Lancaster is doing a series of LGBT-themed articles. This would have been one of those. But then it wasn’t.

I like to think of myself as a man of some aesthetic sensibilities. I feel I can tell things that look nice apart from things that do not with reasonable certainty.

Vexillology is the study of flags. Today, I shall create a new academic discipline. I shall call it homovexillology — the study of LGBT flags.

Now remember a critique of a flag is not a critique of an identity represented by it. For example, calling Libya’s (former) flag a cop-out or Maryland’s hideous doesn’t mean I think Libyans are lazy or Marylanders particularly unappealing, just as saying Hezbollah have a sick one doesn’t mean I’m big into suicide bombing.

Below are (most of) the LGBT flags ranked. The good, the bad and the sometimes quite ugly.

14. Lipstick Lesbian

Lipstick lesbian pride flag

Natalie McCray CC BY-SA 4.0

Meaning: Lipstick is purdy

Verdict: This is a mess. The kiss mark looks like some cheap ClipArt, and the transparency is inconsistent. There is also a good reason brown is not a common colour in flags.

13. Transgender

Transgender pride flag

Monica Helms

Meaning: The light blue is the traditional color for baby boys, pink is for girls, and the white in the middle is for those who are transitioning. —Monica Helms, creator

Verdict: Although they may have symbolic meaning, the light blue and light pink colour palette is just unpleasant. The pastel look makes one think of old people and sadness.

Honourable Mention

Alternate transgender pride flag

Jennifer Pellinen

This alternate model by Jennifer Pellinen is much better. The gradual transition from pink to dark blue is more representative of the idea of non-binary gender whilst the darker colour scheme lends the flag a more mature, moody vibe. If I was including alternate flags in my rankings, this would be a strong contender.

12. Polysexual

Polysexual pride flag

McLennonSon @ Wikipedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0

11. Genderqueer

Genderqueer pride flag

Marilyn Roxie CC BY-SA 4.0

Meaning: Chartreuse green for non-binary, white for neutral, purple for gendered (paraphrased from creator Marilyn Roxie’s post here).

Verdict: I’m pretty sure that is literally a dolly mixture.

10. Agender

Agender pride flag

Salem Fontana @ Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0

Meaning: Both black and white represent the complete absence of gender. Grey represents being semi-genderless. Green represents nonbinary gender, because it is the inverse of purple.Gender Wiki

Verdict: I’m no expert, but are agenders cyborgs?

9. Genderfluid

Gender-fluid pride flag

JJ Pole CC BY-SA 4.0

Meaning: Pink for Femininity, Blue for Masculinity, Purple for both, Black for the lack of gender, and White for all genders.This tumblr.

Verdict: Perhaps intentional, but this is just a whole big mess of colours. The only flag that makes having more than four to five stripes work is the Stars and Stripes.

8. Intersex

Intersex pride flag

Morgan Carpenter

Meaning: The colour yellow has long been regarded as the hermaphrodite colour, neither blue nor pink[…]The circle is unbroken and unornamented, symbolising wholeness and completeness, and our potentialities.Intersex Australia

Verdict: A rare LGBT flag that doesn’t consist of stripes, it’s a striking design. Looks a bit like an anus though.

7. Asexual

Asexual pride flag

standup @ AVEN

Meaning: The black stripe represents asexuality, the grey stripe the grey-area between sexual and asexual, the white stripe sexuality, and the purple stripe community.AVEN

Verdict: The first signs of better colour sense are starting to break through, but it loses points for being largely shades of grey. For a sexuality that’s trying to shake the stigma of being boring, that probably wasn’t the best idea.

6. Bisexual

Bisexual pride flag

Michael Page

Meaning: The pink color represents sexual attraction to the same sex only (gay and lesbian), The blue represents sexual attraction to the opposite sex only (straight) and the resultant overlap color purple represents sexual attraction to both sexes (bi).—Michael Page, creator

Verdict: A bit of a barrage of blues, but the different bar thicknesses sets it apart.

5. Pansexual

Pansexual pride flag

PansexualFlag @ Tumblr

Meaning: I chose pink, yellow and blue as pan colours because pink and blue have come to be accepted to represent binary gender (pink for the female spectrum, blue for the male spectrum), while yellow is a bright colour, that symbolises life and happiness in many cultures, and is neglected by most queer-representing flags. —Jasper, creator.

Verdict: Somewhat garish, but also the first LGBT flag to really whip out the colours.

4. Lesbian

Lesbian pride flag

Sean Campbell

Meaning: The labrys, or double-bladed battle axe, was a symbol used in the ancient civilization of Minoan Crete (sometimes portrayed as having certain matriarchal tendencies). It represents lesbian and feminist strength and self-sufficiency.Wikipedia

Verdict: Fucking metal


LGBT rainbow pride flag

Guanaco @ Wikimedia Commons

Meaning: It represents the diversity of gays and lesbians around the world.Wikipedia

Verdict: Fantastic. Probably the most vibrant and colourful flag in the world (not to mention distinctive, which is the main goal of a flag). You can’t not be cheerful when you’ve got rainbows all up in your face. But what could beat it?

2. Bear

Bear pride flag

Craig Byrnes GDFL

Meaning: Hairy bears have beary hair.

Verdict: This is fucking adorable. Despite what I said about brown earlier, this is the perfect use of it. They even include the full range of bear fur colours — brown bears, black bears, even polar bears. It’s like a big friendly woodland youth camp flag. Gr8 stuff.

1. Leather

Leather pride flag

Tony DeBlase

Meaning: I will leave it to the viewer to interpret the colors and symbols. —Tony DeBlase, creator. I have a hunch the black might be for leather though I don’t know. Not sure I want to know what the white represents.

Verdict: This is it. This is the Darth Vader of LGBT flags. A big, brooding, dark, sleek purple + black number. A German whip of gay flag power. And then there’s a big goofy love heart on it, because of course there is. The flag can be as scary as it likes, but deep down they’re all a bunch of softies who know what they love and want to hang out with others who also love it. It’s all about love. This is fine.