Which Rainbow Flag Is "Correct"?

Which Rainbow Flag Is "Correct"?

Posted by Beck S on

Every other year it seems like there’s a new iteration of the rainbow pride flag, and it might be confusing to figure out which is the “correct” or “most up-to-date” one. Well, good news! You literally can’t go wrong, they’re all correct!

Each rainbow pride flag was created out of love for the people within the LGBTQIA+ community, with more recent iterations highlighting those that might experience marginalization or even discrimination within the community itself.

Gilbert Baker Rainbow Flag - 8 Stripes

The original flag by Gilbert Baker with eight stripes from 1978 lost the hot pink and turquoise stripes early on due to scarcity of materials. This and other events led to the iconic 6-stripe rainbow flag. “Updated” Rainbow Pride flags have been coming out since the 1980s. Before his death, Baker added a 9th lavender stripe to represent diversity.

Victory Over AIDS Flag

One of the first occurrences of adding additional inclusion via new stripes after the 6-stripe rainbow flag became the norm was the Victory Over AIDS flag that was flown during the height of the AIDS epidemic. A black stripe was added to the bottom of the flag to remember and honor those lost to AIDS.

Philadelphia Pride Flag - 2017

In 2017 the city of Philadelphia added black and brown stripes to the top of the rainbow uplift the people of color that were being dismissed in their local LGBTQIA+ community. The creation of the flag by the Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office for LGBT Affairs in Philadelphia, led by Amber Hikes, was met with quite a lot of backlash that only served to highlight the need for a more explicitly inclusive flag for queer people of color.

Progress Pride Flag - 2018

Soon after in 2018, designer Daniel Quasar took the designs from the original Gilbert Baker flag, the Victory Over AIDS flag, the Philadelphia flag, and the Transgender pride flag to create the "Progress Flag" - a symbol to emphasize voices in the LGBTQIA+ community that still tend to get drowned out in the noise and for the work that still needs to be done. This flag was widely adopted in the following years and can now be seen in almost every major city on earth.

Intersex Progress Flag - 2021

The most recent rainbow flag variation you’ve probably started seeing was created by the founder of Intersex Equality Rights UK, Valentino Vecchietti. Adding the yellow Intersex flag into the triangle of the Progress Flag in 2021 was Valentino’s way of bringing intersex people to the front of the LGBTQIA+ conversation where they tend to be widely ignored. They still face discrimination and abuse that can come in many forms such as unwanted medical interventions and other human rights violations, so it was a brilliant move on Valentino’s part to make such a big wave and bring focus to the intersex community.


In this day and age, there tends to be a lot of emphasis on not being left behind or having the latest version of a thing. But the pride flag is timeless. It doesn’t matter if your flag has 6 stripes or 12- they all stand for love and acceptance and progress. Just make sure that when you wave it, you mean it.

 Learn More

Lesbian Flag History  |  Bisexual Flag History  |  Aromantic Flag History 

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