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Variations of the Gay Pride Rainbow Flag (1)

Sexual Orientation Flags

Last modified: 2023-09-30 by randy young
Keywords: rainbow flag | stripes: 6 | repeated pattern | rainbows: conjoined |
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Miscellaneous Reports about the Rainbow Flag

The rainbow flag forms the basis for many different, in part localized, variants.
M. Schm ger, 26 August 2001

This seems to be a fairly consistent pattern — taking an existing flag and "merging" it with the Rainbow Flag or various GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered] symbols to represent GLBT members of the group the existing flag represents.
Steve Kramer, 16 March 1999

I suppose there will be many more [rainbow variation flags] like the Maryland one at that will to be known or developed and then known.
Steve Stringfellow, 16 March 1999

This web page GayJourney.COM has an awful lot of gay flags, which are mostly variations on other flags, including all US states, all Canadian provinces, and many nations. Most of these, with "GJ" underneath, were designed by the site's author, Greg Gomes. It is hard to say how many of these are flying somewhere.
Richard Knipel, 14 June 2004

At GayJourney.COM, lots of rainbows: from Argentina to Wales, EU, UNO, US states, Canadian provinces and general gay flags. Perhaps not all of these flags are actually used in the real word.
Francisco Santos, 14 May 2003

In Amsterdam one can't help noticing in the Red Light quarter gay and lesbian flags. They are apparently used to give info to potential customers:
     - The rainbow flag with a naked male torso: gay;
     - The rainbow flag with a naked female torso: lesbian.
     - The rainbow flag with a heart on it: leather = SM.
Jarig Bakker, 29 November 2000

Some variations in adornment include:
     - pink triangle in the upper hoist, usually point upward
     - pink triangle in a canton of blue or black. Blue is an obvious play off the U.S. flag; black is a color associated with lesbianism - a black triangle on pink is also sometimes used as a lesbian symbol
     - white stripe vertically in the hoist, to denote that "all are included"
     - a labrys (double-headed axe) is another lesbian symbol and is sometimes included, usually centered on the field
     - a U.S. flag canton
Steve Kramer, 6 May 1996

A pink triangle is sometimes located in the hoist of the Pride Flag.
Don Hagemann, 4 May 1996

During the renovation of Montreal's (Canada) metro (subway) system in 1999-2000, the access to Beaudry metro, the station serving the gay village, was torn down and replaced with a beautiful new building with the colours of the gay pride flag integrated into it. To my knowledge this is one of the only public buildings in the world so decorated. You can see a picture of it here.
Matt McLauchlin, 11 December 2001

Color shade variations on Rainbow Flags

Rainbow with darker bottom stripe
image by Tomislav Todorović, 27 September 2014

Of course, this flag doesn't exactly have official specifications, but it seems to have become sufficiently common for this variation to be worth noting: The legalising of gay marriage in Spain was reported on The World on BBC4 TV tonight (30 June 2005). There were many shots of people holding the gay pride rainbow flag, but the colours were slightly different to what we show, with a lighter blue for the fifth stripe and a much darker sixth stripe — much closer, in fact, to the "indigo" (as it's called in English) of a real rainbow. However, a gay activist who was interviewed was wearing a badge which showed the colours as we show.
Andr Coutanche, 30 June 2005

A flag matching this description was seen at the Taiwan Pride in Taipei, on 26 October 2013.
Tomislav Todorović, 27 September 2014

[Rainbow with lighter and darker stripes]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 22 November 2015

Another flag displaying such variations was photographed in Hanoi, Vietnam, on 3 August 2014. Here, blue and purple/indigo are even lighter and darker, respectively, than on the previously described flags, but the other colors are also darker than usual, which especially seems to be visible with red and green. The ratio is 1:2 - also not very usual, still less unusual than the color shades combination.
Tomislav Todorović, 22 November 2015

Since there are no official specifications for the color shades, it is not quite unusual to see copies of flags, which display different shades of same color, being used together. Two such flags were seen at the San Francisco Pride 2012, with the photos available here, here and here. In this example, violet color is the one that varies the most: on one flag, the shade is close to magenta, while on the other, it is much closer to purple. Most of other colors vary as well, with orange varying the least.

Another example is from Belfast Pride 2013. (Photo) Here, violet varies the most again and the red varies the least.
Tomislav Todorović, 6 March 2016

Variations on the Ratio of Rainbow Flag

Lacking any official specifications, the Gay Pride / Rainbow Flag may have any ratio its users like. The most widespread ones, though, seem to be 2:3 and 3:5, which are among the most widespread ones in general, too. Long "flags" carried by rows of people at LGBT-related events also appear frequently.

A specific ratio worth noting is 1:1, which has been used in Zurich, Switzerland, alone or together with the national and cantonal flags, from which it was clearly borrowed. Most of its photos date from the Zurich Pride / Europride 2009; the best examples can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. These flags might easily be the predecessors of the Swiss gay flags which were seen at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 in Vienna, Austria.
Tomislav Todorović, 28 May 2015

Flags with repeated rainbow patterns

[Rainbow flag]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 14 June 2015

The Rainbow Flags are not limited to displaying a single rainbow patterns - there may be more than one on a single flag. An example with four rainbow patterns has appeared in Toledo, Ohio, at the 2012 Toledo Pride Parade. Its photos, taken on 10 August 2012, can be found here and here.
Tomislav Todorović, 14 June 2015

[Rainbow flag]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 1 August 2015

An example with two rainbow patterns was seen in Detroit at Motor City Pride 2011.
Tomislav Todorović, 1 August 2015

The flag was seen again in Cleveland, Ohio, at the Cleveland Pride 2017. The photos from event are available here: and here:
Tomislav Todorović, 17 February 2020

The next appearance (after Cleveland, Ohio) was in Akron, Ohio, at the Akron Pride 2018. The photo from the event is available here.
Tomislav Todorović, 12 May 2020

The flag was also seen at pride events in Chicago in 2017 as well as in 2018. In 2019, the flag was used in Buffalo, New York, the photos being available here and here, as well as in Denver, Colorado, with the photo presented here.

The flag's use is spreading outside the USA as well. In Japan, it was used at the Tokyo Rainbow Pride Parade on 28 April 2019, as shown here, and in June 2021 it became the first pride flag ever to be hoisted in the Cayman Islands; the report, containing several photos, is available here.
Tomislav Todorović, 30 May 2023

[Rainbow flag]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 25 June 2017

A row of flags with two rainbow patterns was photographed in Provincetown, Massachusetts, on 6 August 2013. The colors were arranged horizontally, but the shape as much like the German Knatterflaggen, with the ratio of about 4:1.
Tomislav Todorović, 25 June 2017

[Rainbow flag]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 30 September 2019

Flags with three rainbow patterns were photographed in Mexico City on 29 June 2019: (photo: While the flag carried by the woman in central part of the photo is not completely visible, still revealing that there are more than two patterns, there is a flag next to the right-hand edge of the photo which, although not completely visible either, clearly reveals that there are three patterns (observe the flagstaff and parts next to it); there is also a flag farther behind, in the left-hand part of the photo (to the left of the large "bouquet" of balloons) which also reveal its three patterns in the same way.
Tomislav Todorović, 30 September 2019

Flag with two conjoined rainbow patterns

[Rainbow flag with two conjoined rainbows] image by Tomislav Todorović, 5 May 2015

A variation which displays two rainbow patterns, with red stripes along the top and bottom edges and conjoined by a single violet stripe in center, was seen at Belfast Pride on 6 July 2013. Its photos can be found here (image 1) (image 2) and here.
Tomislav Todorović, 5 May 2015

More recently, the flags with this design were used at the Seattle Pride on 26 June 2016. The photos are available here and here.
Tomislav Todorović, 24 September 2023

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