9 Queer Pride Flags That You Probably Didn't Know About

9 Queer Pride Flags That You Probably Didn't Know About

The rainbow flag is certainly the most recognizable, but it isn't the only Pride Flag there is.

It's Pride Month yet again and fellow members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies are celebrating. Normally around this time of year, we expect to see that all-too-familiar rainbow colored flag waving through the air, hanging from windows and sported on clothing of all types. Even when not strictly a flag, the colors of the rainbow are often displayed when showing support of the larger queer community. But what many people do not realize is that there are many, many pride flags for orientations of all kinds, so Natasha and I (Alana Stern) have created this handy guide to some others that you may not yet be familiar with:

1. L is for Lesbian and G is for Gay

The most recognizable letters of the entire acronym, L (Lesbian) and G (Gay), represent the homosexual people of the LGBTQ+ community. Homosexuality is defined as being exclusively sexually attracted to members of the same sex. Again, although the rainbow Pride flag is easily the most iconic and recognizable, there is a Lesbian Pride Flag as well. Specifically for "Lipstick Lesbians," this flag was made to represent homosexual women who have a more feminine gender expression. Here are the Lesbian Pride Flag (left) and Gay Pride Flag with the meaning of each stripe (right).

2. B is for Bisexual

Bisexuality is defined as the romantic and/or sexual attraction towards both males and females. They often go unacknowledged by people who believe that they cannot possibly feel an attraction for both sexes and have been called greedy or shamed in many ways for being who they are, but not this month. This month we recognize everyone and their right to love. Here is the flag and symbol that represents the big B!

3. T is for Transgender (Umbrella)

Gender identities are just as diverse as sexual orientations. Transgender people are people whose gender does not necessarily fall in line with their biological sex. That is to say, someone who is born male may not feel that calling oneself a man is the best way to describe who they are as a person; the same can go for someone who is born female or intersex (we'll get to that in a bit). Someone born female may feel that they prefer to be referred to as a man. Someone born male may feel that they don't mind being referred to as either a man or a woman. And someone may feel that neither term really fits. Identities can range from having no gender, to multiple genders, to having a gender that falls outside of the typical gender binary of man/woman, to anything in between. The colors of the flag are blue (the traditional color for boys), pink (the traditional color for girls) and white (to represent those who are intersex, transitioning, or have a gender that is undefined).

Okay! Here's where we get into the lesser-known letters of the acronym. You may have heard of some of these before but didn't quite know what they meant or how they fit into the larger queer community, or you may not have heard of them at all. Either way, we'll do our best to explain them!

4. I is for Intersex

Intersex people are people who are have a mix of characteristics (whether sexual, physical, strictly genetic or some combination thereof) that would classify them as both a male and a female. This can include but is not limited to having both XX and XY chromosomes, having neither, being born with genitalia that does not fit within the usual guidelines for determining sex and appearing as one sex on the outside but another internally. It is possible for intersex people to display the characteristics from birth, but many can go years without realizing it until examining themselves further later in life. Here is an older version of the intersex flag which utilizes purple, white, blue and pink (left) and a more recent one that puts an emphasis on more gender-neutral colors, purple and yellow (right).

5. A is for Aro-Ace Spectrum

The A in the acronym is usually only defined as Asexual, which is a term used to describe people who experience a lack of sexual attraction to any sex, gender, or otherwise. People who are asexual can still engage in healthy romantic relationships, they just don't always feel the need or have the desire to have sex and are not physically attracted to other people. If that's confusing, think of it this way: you are attracted women, but not men. You may see a man and think, "He's kind of cute" or "That's a pretty good-looking guy," but you still would not feel any desire towards that person, because that's not what you're into. Asexual people generally feel that way about everyone. That's the "Ace" half of "Aro-Ace."

"Aro," or Aromantic, is a term used to describe people who do not experience romantic attraction. Aromantic people still have healthy platonic relationships, but have no inclination towards romantic love. The reason Asexual and Aromantic are together is because they are very heavily entwined and oftentimes can overlap. Underneath that spectrum are also other variations of asexuality (including but not limited to people who still feel as though they are asexual but experience sexual attraction in very rare circumstances, or only after they have a romantic connection) and aromanticism (including but not limited to people who still feel as though they are aromantic but experience romantic attraction in very rare circumstances).

Below are two versions of the Aromantic Pride Flag (top and middle) and the Asexual Pride Flag (bottom).

6. P and O are for Panseuxal and Omnisexual

Pansexual and omnisexual people are not limited by gender preferences. They are capable of loving someone for who they are and being sexually attracted to people despite what gender their partner identifies as. The word pansexual comes from the Greek prefix "pan-", meaning all. Pansexuals or Omnisexuals will probably settle for whoever wins their heart regardless of that persons gender.

7. But what about the Q?!

The Q can be said to stand for Queer or Questioning, or both. "Queer" is more of a blanket term for people who belong to the LGBTQ+ community or who identify as something other than heterosexual or cisgender (a term that has come to describe people who feel that their gender does fall in line with their biological sex; i.e. someone born male feels that he is a man). It is also possible for someone to identify as queer, but avoid using it to refer to specific people unless you know they are okay with it; some people still consider it insulting. Questioning means exactly what it sounds like: it gives a nod to those who are unsure about their sexuality and/or gender identity or who are currently in the process of exploring it.

There's no one flag specifically for the letter Q, as all of the above sexualities and identities technically fall underneath this term.

This list is hardly comprehensive and there are a number of other flags, orientations and identities to explore. Pride Month is still going strong, and there's always more to learn about the ever-changing nature of sexuality as a whole and the way we understand it. It's a time for celebration, but also a time to educate and spread the word.

For a more in-depth description of different types of attraction and how they work, click here.

For more complete lists of gender identities throughout history, click here or here.

For a general list of commonly used words in the LGBTQ+ community and their definitions, click here.

Now go grab a flag and fly it high--you've got a ton to choose from!

Cover Image Credit: 6rang

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Girls Need To Learn To Love Each Other

Why can't women lift each other up instead of bring each other down?

I've always wondered why girls feel the need to tear each other down knowing how bad it hurts when someone does it to them. Is it cause the lack of esteem in oneself that they feel the need to bring someone else down to come out on top or is it cause they truly like the feeling of hurting someone? Either way as women, we need to learn to love ourselves and respect one another.

Most women have had at least one 'mean girl' in their past, that has either put them down or socially tormented them. Women who feel as if your a competition tend to be the main ones who feel the need to bring you down.

With that being said, It is truly sad that this generation wants to hurt people rather then make them feel good about themselves. As being women, we know how hard it is dealing with our self image issues and being able to actually love our self.

These magazines and social media pages, show young girls the 'ideal look' and how they need to look in order to be loved or to matter to society. This make these girls feel the need to starve themselves just to matter to the world or so they aren't made fun of for being 'fat'.

These girls then grow up having huge insecurities and believe that no matter what they do, they aren't good enough. It's not fair for women to experience depression because another girl made them feel worthless just to make themselves feel better.

This girl on girl hatred needs to stop, instead of bringing each other down, we need to lift each other up. If you feel another women is pretty or you like her outfit, tell her because that might just be the one thing that'll make her day.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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So, I’m Trying To Reconnect Culturally

Is it too late to learn a new language?

I am a first generation Nigerian-American in Chicago. With my parents growing up in Nigeria instead of America, I had a different childhood than a lot of black youth, I grew up with Aki and PoPo instead of Madea and Tyler Perry, Afrobeats instead of R&B, and all the gospel songs were in broken English. Because my parents and all my older relatives are so connected to Nigeria, I automatically have an immediate cultural connection that a lot of people wish they could have, so what do I mean when I say I’m trying to reconnect culturally? Well my grandma and mom speak three languages, my grandpa dad and all his siblings speak two, most of my cousins speak two, and my siblings and I speak one.

When my parents came to America, my dad had such a hard time adjusting to the professional world with his thick Nigerian accent that when he met my mom before they had kids they sat down and decided, which took a long time because my mom wanted her kids to be bilingual originally, that they were only going to teach us English.

I’m not mad at my parents for making a decision they believed would inevitably better my future, but I am frustrated, because I believe they did me a disservice, giving me an Igbo name, putting me in a trilingual church where the most commonly spoken language isn’t English, and introducing me into circles and spaces where kids my age were speaking different languages and I would just have to sit and wait.

I do not regret how I grew up, I had a wonderful childhood, but the disconnect I feel to Nigerian culture, all because I don’t speak anything but English is all too real. When we would dress up in Native for special events, I would feel like an imposter almost, and it would hurt because I wanted to know another language, more than anything. I even had tried to make an effort to learn, but everytime was never the right time for my parents or my cousins, which is understandable because they're all busy people. The other day though I came to the realization that they might always be busy, and for them it might never be the right time, but for me the right time is now, and I can’t keep waiting for other people to encourage and support me to go after what I want. I need to be my own motivation, and chase my dreams myself in this case and that's more than fine to me.

So now, as freshman about to start my spring quarter, at 19 years old, I have decided I’m going to learn two new languages. I plan to learn Igbo, the language my dad and his side of the family speak, and Yoruba, one of the languages my mom and grandma speak, as well as the main language of my church and my friends. Although I do not know how exactly taking this language journey this late in life will turn out I’m ready for anything and everything life throws at me. Because I can take it. I plan to start this summer with Igbo learning classes, and I don't want to rush anything, but my goal is that in three years, by graduation, I’ll be fluent in the languages I’ve loved and admired from a distance for so long.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash.com

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