Your chances of seeing a rainbow increase dramatically during pride month, when people all over the world should anticipate parades, celebrations, activism, and even protests. Waves of colorful flags and symbols of LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and others) themes are used to distinguish the participants among the lively communities participating in Pride Month. These parades and festivals have been going on for almost a full five decades.

Brandish Symbols

To celebrate Pride Month, social media platforms are releasing more iconic symbols to celebrate.

Twitter Open, the official LGBT+ group for Twitter has a series of hashtags that will trigger the Pride 2018 emojis of a rainbow heart icon to appear on your tweets: #Pride2018, #LoveIsLove, #Pride, #LoveWins, and #PrideParade.

Instagram’s bundle of pride celebration comes in the form of rainbow hashtags, rainbow stickers, and a rainbow background for Stories. YouTube has released a #ProudToCreate visual compilation that, despite controversies about running ads from anti-LGBTQ, functions as an official Pride Month video.

There are many symbols that people use to honor the LGBT+ communities, so below we have compiled a list of ten flags and symbols and what they represent.

1. Rainbow flag

The first rainbow flag was designed in 1978 by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker, who initially designed it to contain eight rainbow colors symbolic of gay and lesbian community pride for a local activist group.

The design was adopted by the Gay and Lesbian Freedom March in 1978 and by the Pride Parade Committee in 1979. Since then, changes have been made to accommodate for commercialization, eliminating the hot pink and the indigo colors. The remaining colors make up the six-stripe version that represents red for life, orange for healing, yellow for the sun, green for nature, blue for art, and violet for spirit.

2. Pink triangle

The pink triangle was used in the 70's as a symbol for gay rights. The symbol has historical links to the symbol used during the World War II to identify homosexual men in concentration camps. The symbol was adopted as the logo of the ACT-UP coalition shortly after it was established in 1987, accompanying the organization’s slogan of “SILENCE = DEATH.” The symbol was the subject of a recent copyright infringement dispute between ACT-UP and Nike, who chose to use the pink triangle logo to sell their Be True sneaker collection.

3. Bisexual flag

The bisexual flag was designed by Michael Page in 1998 to improve the visibility of the bisexual community among the larger LGBT+ communities. The colors used for the flag are pink, blue, and their overlap, which is purple. The pink represents sexual attraction to same-sex only, and the blue represents sexual attraction to the opposite sex.

Purple is the overlap of the two colors, representing sexual attractions to both sexes, linking to the community.

4. Transgender flag

The transgender flag is a composition of three colors, baby blue, baby pink, and white.

It was designed by an openly transgender woman, Monica Helms, in 1999. The light blue stripes at the bottom and the top of the flag are the traditional color for baby boys, and the pink stripes are the traditional color for baby girls. The middle white stripe represents intersex individuals, those who are transitioning or who consider themselves as being gender neutral. Helmes donated the transgender flag design to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., to become part of their special collection.

5. Intersex pride flag

The term intersex refers to individuals born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the typical sex characteristics. To represent intersex pride, the Organization Intersex International (OII), now known as Intersex Human Rights Australia, has created an intersex pride flag in July 2013.

According to the organization’s website, the color yellow was chosen for the flag because it has long been seen as the hermaphrodite color. The symbol for the flag is an unbroken purple circle, symbolizing wholeness and completeness, and human potentialities.

6. Lambda

The lower case lambda was made the international symbol for gay and lesbian rights by the International Gay Rights Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland in December 1974. The lambda is the 11th letter in the Greek alphabet.

7. Non-binary flag

The non-binary pride flag was created by Kye Rowan in February 2014 in response to a call for a non-binary community.

The flag consists of four colors, with yellow at the top representing those genders outside of the binary. White represents those with many or all genders. The purple stripe below white represents a mix of male and female, as purple is the result of mixing blue and pink. The final stripe is black, which represents those who feel they are without gender, as the color itself is the result of the absence of color and light.

8. Genderqueer flag

The color combination in a genderqueer flag consists of a lavender stripe at the top, followed by a white stripe and a chartreuse, dark green. The flag is designed by a genderqueer advocate, Marilyn Roxie in June 2012. The term “genderqueer” is an identity term used to refer to people who do not identify with society’s expectations for sex, gender expression, and sexuality.

The lavender strip represents androgynes and androgyny, the white stripe represents gender identity, and the dark green is the inverse of lavender, representing those whose identities are outside of the binary.

9. Asexual flag

The asexual pride flag was conceived out of a 2010 call for flag design by the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN). The winning design to represent asexuals, those who do not experience sexual attraction, consists of the colors: black representing asexuality, gray for the area between sexual and asexual, white for sexuality, and purple representing the community.

10. Aces of hearts & aces of spades

Among the asexual communities, the term ace is used to nickname people who are asexuals, as a shorter phonetic version of “asexual.” The ace of spades or the ace of hearts is also commonly used to represent asexual orientation.