Today, April 23rd, 2021 marks GLSEN’s Day of Silence. This is a day in which LGBTQIA+ people and allies attempt to stay silent as a way of protesting bullying against their community.
To mark this occasion I decided to make a guide to many of the pride flags and what community they each represent. The description of each flag will be directly underneath its photo.
First in the acronym is Lesbian. This is a girl or feminine-aligned person who is attracted solely to other girls and femme-aligned people (You may also see the acronym WLW). There are multiple different lesbian flags, but this “orange” one is generally seen as the most popular and accepted one.
Gay: Both an umbrella term to describe the LGBTQ+ community as a whole and also used for someone who loves someone of the same gender. This is the rainbow pride flag. It is arguably the most well-recognized symbol of LGBT culture.
The progress pride flag was designed as recently as 2018. It contains the iconic rainbow flag, brown and black to symbolize LGBTQ+ people of color and those who died of the AIDS crisis. The white, pink, and blue parts of the triangle represent the transgender community.
You may not recognize this flag. It is the men loving men (MLM) flag. It is for men and masculinity-aligned people who love and/or are attracted to masc-aligned people.
Bisexual: This is an umbrella term for anyone who is attracted to more than one gender.
Extremely similar to bisexual is pansexual. This is a person who is attracted to/loves people regardless of gender and typically with no preference for one gender identity over another.
What I would argue is one of the prettiest flags is the transgender flag. This is a massive umbrella term for anyone whose gender identity is different from the one they were assigned at birth.
Falling under the trans umbrella is nonbinary (enby for short). This is anybody whose gender identity is “outside of the binary of male and female.”
Genderfluid: A nonbinary identity in which one’s gender shifts with time. This can happen extremely quickly (such as in a matter of minutes) or very gradually.
Extremely similar to nonbinary is genderqueer. This is someone whose gender identity is out of the ordinary. I can’t really explain the difference between this and enby, but the distinction between the two matters to some people.
This relatively uncommon flag means queer. Similar to gay, this is another term used to describe the whole community as a whole. However, you should be careful using the term because it does have a history as a slur.
Intersex people, as you may be able to tell by their very different flag, are a bit of an outlier in LGBT. Instead of being a specific gender or sexuality, they are someone whose physical sex characteristics do not fall into the binary we typically think of (for example, an intersex person may be born with XXX chromosomes instead of XX or XY). Their mere existence disproves the idea that sex and gender are binary and that everyone is either male or female.
Asexual (ace): A person who feels very little to no sexual attraction. This is a spectrum and there are many different types of asexuality such as demisexual – where someone does not begin feeling sexual attraction until they have formed an emotional connection with someone.
Aromantic (aro): Extremely similar to asexulaity; however, isntead of being about sexual attraction, aromanticism is about romantic attraction. An aro person may still experience sexual attraction.
This flag that looks similar to a sunset represents people who are both aromantic and asexual (aroace). Just because somebody is aroace does not mean that they are incapable of feeling love.
This is the agender flag. It is another nonbinary identity in which somebody feels that they have no gender at all.
The massive rainbow A in this flag stands for ally. This is a heterosexual, cisgender (gender is the same as what you were assigned at birth), allosexual, alloromantic person who still supports the LGBTQIA+ community. (Allo is essentially the opposite of aromantic and asexual.)
Finally, the polyamory flag. This is flag represents people who wish or be or are in a relationship with more than just one other consenting partner.
This has been my guide to many of the most common pride flags and terms. Do keep in mind that there are many, many more flags and identities out there so feel free to look them up on your own. One of my favorite sources for information (and fun comics) about niche identities is Reddit’s r/LGBallT.
By working together to spread acceptance of LGBT, we can end homophobia and thus remove the need for events like the Day of Silence.