Unlike most pride flags within the LGBT community, the lesbian flag has seen many updates and changes since the first flag debut in 1999. The lesbian community has adopted several different flags and colours within the last two decades, some of which have been used as an official representation for a subculture. We'll be going through each different lesbian pride colours, flags and their meaning, as well as their history:
The Labrys lesbian flag was the first known flag to represent the lesbian community. Created in 1999 by Sean Campbell, the Lesbian Labrys features a double-headed axe, a black inverted triangle, and a purple background. The Labrys was used as a marker for the lesbian feminist groups in the 1970s, and the inverted black triangle dates to the Nazi regime, where queer women were forced to wear the inverted black triangle on clothing. Like the pink triangle, which gay and bisexual men were also forced to wear, the inverted triangle has since been reclaimed by the lesbian community. The purple colour references the Greek and lesbian poet Sappho, who was described as having 'violet hair'. Today, the Labrys flag has often been used as a symbol for butch women and any masculine-presenting woman who do not conform to the feminine aesthetic.
The Lipstick Lesbian pride flag was created as an alternative to the Labrys Lesbian flag, which had been adopted by more masc-presenting lesbians. The new 'pink flag' was made for women who identified as femmes and 'lipstick lesbians' (lesbians considered hyper-feminine). It was created in 2010 and featured six shades of pink and red and a white stripe in the middle. The original Lipstick Lesbian pride flag included a lipstick kiss in the upper left-hand corner.
The pink lesbian flag featured the same colour scheme as the Lipstick Lesbian flag but removed the lipstick mark. The pink flag was soon adopted as a general lesbian flag but was more popular with feminine-identifying lesbians.
The most recent lesbian flag colour is an updated version of the pink flag, designed by Emily Gwen in 2018. The latest version includes a range of orange hues. The dark orange represents gender non-conformity, orange for independence, light orange for community, white for unique relationships to womanhood, pink for serenity and peace, dusty pink for love and sex, and dark rose for femininity. The orange lesbian flag has been more widely adopted by the generally lesbian community due to its representation of all gender expressions within the group. The orange lesbian flag was also created to include trans lesbian women and non-binary lesbians.
As of now, we're still creating new signalling bracelets to add to our collection, so if you don't see your pride colours yet, be sure to follow us on social media so that you'll be the first to know when a new collection drops!
The recent homophobic attacks in Clapham have shocked and saddened many people. These attacks are a reminder that LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance in society can be regressive, and not always progressive. In the UK, we have made great progress in recent years, but there is still a lot of work to be done.