Symobls of Pride of the LGBTQ Community

Pink Triangle: The symbolism of the pink triangle dates back to World War II, when Jews were forced by the Nazis to wear a yellow Star of David on their coats and eventually camp uniforms. Homosexuals, who were also put to death in concentration camps, were forced to wear pink triangles on their uniforms. Since 1977, the pink triangle has been adopted by the LGBT community as a symbol of the fight against oppression and the work for acceptance. Today the pink triangle is worn as a symbol of pride, thus redefining a symbol once used for persecution.

Black Triangle: Once emblazoned on the uniforms of lesbians and prostitutes by Nazis in the concentration camps, the black triangle is now worn to honor the women previously prosecuted.

Lambda sign: The 11th letter of the Greek alphabet, Lambda has long been a symbol of the LGBT community since 1970 when The Gay Activist Alliance chose the Greek letter “L” to signify liberation.

Rainbow Flag: In 1978, when San Francisco was grieving the assassinations of Harvey Milk, the city’s first openly gay City Supervisor and Mayor George Moscone, the organizing committee for “Speak Out for Justice” called for the development of a permanent symbol which could be used by gay men and lesbians celebrating and saluting their community. San Francisco artist and former military officer Gilbert Baker, inspired by the five-striped “Flag of the Races” (red, black, brown, yellow and white) designed the Rainbow Flag. A crew of artists hand-made and dyed the first eight-striped Rainbow Flags, which made its debut at the 1978 Gay and Lesbian FreedomDay March in San Francisco. The eight-colored flag was affectionately called “New Glory” and was enthusiastically cheered by the thousands of people who lined the streets.

The original eight colors were pink for sexuality, red for light, orange for healing, yellow for the sun, green for natural serenity, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony and violet for spirit. In 1979 the Paramount Flag Company introduced the six-striped flag through its outlet store, The Flag Store. Over the years, the Rainbow Flag has gone through many permutations. Popular sentiment, however, has kept the current six-color flag in prominence: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. The brilliant six-stripe flag represents the diversity of the LGBT community and the hope for unification encompassing all its diversity.

In 1985 the Rainbow Flag became an internationally recognized LGBT symbol of Pride when it was accepted by the International Association of Lesbian and Gay Pride Coordinators. Today once can see “LGBT Rainbows” in cities throughout the United States and abroad. A unique and beautiful banner displaying rightful pride in its heritage and its legacy, Freedom Rings or Freedom Triangles are colorful, aluminum rings in the colors of the Freedom Flag, worn as a necklace or bracelet.

Source: The Alyson Almanac (available in the GSC library)

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