The original rainbow flag that represented the LGBTQIA+ community had 8 colours, including pink and turquoise which were later dropped for practical and aesthetic reasons. Each colour signifies a different aspect of life and being.
It was created in 1978 by Gilbert Baker (he/him). Baker was an openly gay man and activist who also worked on the first marijuana legalisation initiative in the US. He learnt how to sew from his fellow activist, Mary Dunn, and created the rainbow flag among many other banners. However, like many activists – of past and present – Baker’s politics were far from perfect or ‘politically correct’; he served in the US Army for 2 years.
40 years later, in 2018, as the issues of PoC and the trans community gained visibility within the movement, Daniel Quasar (he/him), a Portland-based artist and musician, added the baby blue, baby pink & white (from the trans pride flag), as well as the black & brown triangles to the corner of this flag.
In 2021, Valentino Vecchietti (she/they) of Intersex Equality Rights, UK, added a yellow triangle with a purple circle on it, to the corner to represent the interests of the intersex community as part of Pride.
With all these iterations, the flag is referred to as the Progressive Pride banner. Other flags representing the unique interests of the non-binary community, the aces, lesbians, and bi folx also exist. Nonetheless, the evolution of the Progressive Pride flag shows the growing awareness within the community about the inter-related nature of queerness (and its systemic oppression). It should also be noted that most of these designs have emerged from the Global North, and its narrative may not encompass the lived experiences of those who live in the Global South.
For instance, in India, there is a dire need to publicly speak up on matters of caste solidarity (perhaps ‘blue’ to include B.R. Ambedkar’s suit?). Even today, many queer communities are exclusive of historically oppressed castes and communities, in their aesthetics and practices. However, like feminism, we must acknowledge that the Pride movement is nothing, if not intersectional.