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Lesbian Flag: Figure out its history and meanings

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May 30, 2022

Lesbian Flag: Figure out its history and meanings
  • Honoring your queer identity isn’t complete without waving your flag loud and proud. Maybe you’ve seen more than one flag called the lesbian flag and may be confused about which one is correct. The meaning of the stripes on the flag may be something that’s been causing some confusion as well.

    For the record, there’s no correct flag to use related to lesbians. The community has created and used many different flags to represent who they are.

    The newest flag that’s gained popularity is the orange-pink or sunset flag which came onto the scene in 2018. Any flag that you resonate with is appropriate to use, even more than one. Every flag has rich history and meaning when it comes to fighting for lesbian pride and rights.

    The sunset flag

    The sunset flag is one of the newest flags in the LGBTQ+ community to become mainstream. Introduced by blogger Emily Gwen on Tumblr in 2018, this flag was created to represent all of the different facets of being a lesbian. Previous flags didn’t represent some lesbians, with many trans lesbians feeling disincluded from some other flags.

    Lesbian flag colors and meaning

    This flag includes seven stripes ranging from dark orange to dusty pink which each represent empowering parts of being a lesbian. Dark orange represents gender non-conformity, orange represents independence, light orange is for the community, white is for unique relationships to womanhood, pink is for serenity and peace, dusty pink represents love and sex and the dark rose represents femininity. 

    No flag is perfect, but with every new flag that’s made the community comes closer to being more inclusive of all lesbians no matter how they present. The flag isn’t without critique either, because some lesbians feel that femininity doesn’t have to be an aspect of being a lesbian, as all lesbians don’t necessarily present as feminine.

    History of Lesbian flags

    Lesbian pride has always been one of inclusivity, and the sunset flag was introduced because of this.

    The first lesbian pride flag was created in 1999 by Sean Campbell, a cisgender gay man. He put together various flags to represent different communities and his creation is known as the Labry’s Lesbian Pride Flag

    Other flags were created because many lesbians didn’t identify with this flag being created by a man. Trans lesbians were also left out of some earlier flags, so they wanted to be included too.

    You can learn more about lesbian pride, including its history here.

    Is the Sunset Flag the “right” flag?

    Not necessarily.

    No flag is officially recognized as the lesbian pride flag because there are so many flags created to represent people’s different desires. Including all different groups and representing the community is key when deciding which flag you want to rep. 

    Lots of lesbian pride merch does use the sunset flag or the lipstick flag, but you can feel free to use any flag you see fit.

    The fight for Lesbian Rights

    Although the LGBT community and lesbians have made strides in the fight for their rights, there’s still a long journey ahead. Gay marriage may be legal and LGBT people can be more open in some workplaces but there’s still a lot of roadblocks and discrimination.

    There are no federal laws against discrimination toward LGBT people in the workplace. Individual workplaces can make their own policies, and many have. This can still be worrying because workplace safety for LGBT people is at the discretion of the individual company.

    The US military, which is the US largest employer, still openly discriminates against lesbians and other LGBT people. 

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    Alexandra hails from Boston, MA but is currently living in the DC Area. She's passionate about social justice, self-care, spirituality, and watching documentaries. She's no stranger to telling her story through writing and has written for a variety of freelance publications. You can find her on Instagram at @lexlexlexlexlex__.

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