As one of the largest groups within the LGBTQ+ community, Lesbians have had a long history of flags and symbols to represent them.
The first documented lesbian pride flag was designed by graphic designer Sean Campbell in 1999. Published in a 2000s issue of the Palm Springs Gay and Lesbian Times, the "Labrys Lesbian Flag" was included in a series of flags that Sean designed for different sub-groups in the Queer community.
The Labrys Lesbian Flag
The lavender background of this design was drawn from the poetry of Sappho, the black inverted triangle (the symbol used by Nazis to identify “anti-social” women), and the labrys- a mythological weapon wielded by the Amazons that was adopted as a symbol by lesbian feminists in the 1970s.
As kick-ass as it looks at first glance, it never gained enough traction. In recent years, the Labrys Flag has been adopted by TERFS (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists) as a symbol to identify themselves which in turn has caused many to steer clear of any association with the symbol.
The Pink Flag
The Pink Flag was first posted in 2015 on the website Deviantart, derived from the "Lipstick Lesbian Flag" that was designed in 2010. These flags adopted horizontal stripes harkening to the Rainbow Pride Flag designed by Gilbert Baker, but in a gradient of pinks and white. It gained traction in 2016, but was then met with resistance from lesbians that felt excluded from the femininity associated with the all-pink color scheme.
During the internet’s search for a Lesbian flag representative of all, Emily Gwen posted her idea for the lesbian flag in 2018 on Tumblr.
The Sunset Lesbian Flag
Her design, sometimes referred to as the Sunset Lesbian Flag, included seven horizontal stripes that form a gradient from a deep orange at the top, white in the middle and to a deep pink at the bottom. The meaning given to each stripe in order from top to bottom was:
- Gender Non-Conformity
- Unique relationships to Womanhood
- Serenity and Peace
- Love and Sex
Even though it was never announced as the “official” lesbian flag, this design was quickly accepted and spread throughout the lesbian community. Gwen's design was simplified at some point after from 7 stripes, to 5 stripes making it more similar to other pride flags within the LGBTQ+ community.
And that is how we got the Lesbian Pride Flag most commonly used today!