Talk:Rainbow flag

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Former good articleRainbow flag was one of the History good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
April 22, 2004Featured article candidateNot promoted
October 7, 2007Good article nomineeListed
October 14, 2015Good article reassessmentDelisted
Current status: Delisted good article

International Order of the Rainbow for Girls[edit]

The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls had used the 7 striped flag for decades. Not only was the design stolen, it is acknowleged that their flags were sold for use for gay pride flags. The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls is a Masonic organization for teenage girls. Confusion from this theft of their flag has caused concern in countless parents when approached concerning their pre-teen and teenaged daughters. The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls was forced to change their flag to another design. 02:31, 12 January 2007 (UTC)


Removed the following:

Outside the United States, the rainbow flag has been seen as representing the international peace movement since the 1800s. Use of the rainbow flag by the peace movement world wide has increased as part of the popular opposition to war on Iraq.

That simply is untrue. The rainbow flag is recognised internationally as a gay flag. Where it is used in peace demonstrations, it is used to represent the gay community's support for the marches. It is not used as a peace flag, any more that in pro-war people in the US fly the stars and strikes an article on wikipedia should claim the stars and strikes was a 'pro-war' flag. This flag was specifically created for the gay community and is used by the gay community. It is no-one else's. A rainbow flag is sometimes used by peace demonstrators, but not this one. STÓD/ÉÍRE 21:31 Apr 8, 2003 (UTC)

Seems to me that, if the distinction is between "a rainbow flag" and "the rainbow flag", perhaps the rainbow flag should be at Rainbow Flag instead? Since it sounds like it's being used in a way that suggests a trademark, even if it doesn't actually have one? If it isn't capitalized, I'd think other rainbow flags would count just as much as the gay pride one, for inclusion in this article. -- John Owens 23:26 Apr 8, 2003 (UTC)

The flag representing gay pride has been flown in Africa, especially South Africa, Australia, throughout Europe and in the Americas. On gay pride week in Ireland, the City Council in Dublin flies the flag on flagpoles running right the way down on each side of the River Liffey celebrating gay pride. The peace flag symbol is not used in the same context and is declining in use, particularly in Europe where it is now overwhelmingly seen as a gay flag. STÓD/ÉÍRE 23:11 Apr 8, 2003 (UTC)

I dunno about that. I've definitely seen more, generic, rainbow flags (often with seven stripes) in coverage about European peace protests. (Saw a big one in front of the Vatican the other week - made me double-take). I'm going to take a crack at rewording it. - Montréalais 00:42 Apr 9, 2003 (UTC)

From what I hear about the Vatican from a priest-friend working there, the gay rainbow flag should replace the yellow and white as its official flag. STÓD/ÉÍRE 01:02 Apr 9, 2003 (UTC)

I couldn't find any indication that the peace flag was used before about 1961. Before that, there were some colorful flags in use by pacifists, but they were not rainbow flags. It wasn't until 1961 (in Italy) that it was made into an actual rainbow flag (plus a few non-rainbow colors, but that's okay), see the comment on [1] under 'Original flag'. The gay pride flag seems to be a separate development, although Baker may have been inspired by the same colorful (though not rainbow) flags.

The two flags (gay pride and peace) were maybe inspired by the same kind of flags, but were to my knowledge completely separate developments. I therefore wrote in the introduction that they are unrelated.

To make clear what kind of flag is meant by rainbow flag, I put that into the introduction as well. There are several regional flags that have rainbows in them, but they are more like municipal seals or logos put onto flags. Also, in my opinion, a flag should actually show most of the rainbow's colors in that order to be considered a rainbow flag. That is, a red, yellow, green flag should not qualify and neither should one with a dozen colors in random order.

-- Kimiko 12:33, 20 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Oh, forgot to add some more links:

-- Kimiko 12:36, 20 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Can someone find out what the flag used in 1525 by Thomas Muentzer in the Peasants' War looked like?
In 1953, a play was written by Friedrich Wolf titled Thomas Münzer: Der Mann mit der Regenbogenfahne. I'm thinking that that book/play may have influenced the development of modern day rainbow flags, and Müntzer's may actually have been the first rainbow flag in history. It seems unlikely though that this flag was actually a full-fledged rainbow flag due to the limited availability of such brightly colored textiles at the time. -- Kimiko 11:27, 6 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Apple Computer?[edit]

There is no mention of Apple Computer's original logo which features the same six colours in the same sequence as this flag, though the six colour version was dropped in the late 1990s in favour of a blue, red or gray "glossy" logo. Is there a connection? Coincidence? Seems to me unlikely given Apple's roots, and Steve Jobs' former existence as part of the hippy movement. Deserves at least a footnote. Graham 23:13, 5 Aug 2004 (UTC)

According to this article, the colors are in a different order (starting with green) and stand for the Apple II's color abilities, not anything related to homosexuality or peace. -- Kimiko 07:41, 6 Aug 2004 (UTC)
OK, but there is a perception out there. Consider this, which I dug up after a brief search: "Alan Turing committed suicide by poisoning an apple with cyanide and taking a bite from it. The original Apple logo was designed as a mark of respect to Turing. The rainbow is the universal sign of gay freedom, the bite from the apple representing the bite that Alan took."Graham 00:27, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I doubt it is much more than a perception, though… And no evidence has been presented what so ever. But no-doubt the Apple logo contains a lot of symbolism…There is the association with the biblical apple from the knowledge tree — with a bite taken from it. There is also the homonym byte <-> bite. And, as Kimiko points out, the Apple II's multiple abilities. — David Remahl 00:39, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)
[meanwhile, 1.5 years later...] It's most likely coincidence, as the obvious connection is Sir Isaac Newton. The apple falling on his head supposedly inspired his theory of gravity, and the colors spectrum from his experiments with prisms. What's more, Apple's logo is not a flag, and never has been one to my knowledge. I have doubts whether the logo belongs in this article. MFNickster 03:45, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree that it doesn't really belong, not with the obviousness of Newton though. See also this thread --Belg4mit 06:07, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Someday we'll find it, the 'rainbow connection.' :) MFNickster 02:00, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Eight stripes is current?[edit]

I seriously doubt it - that seems to be a claim of a single web page. Before reading this page (and subsequently that site), I'd never seen or heard of the 8 colour version. If you asked the "common person" to identify the gay flag, I'd bet of those who could, 99 out of a 100 would pick the 6 colour.

Maybe one day the 8 colour will catch on (I can't see it, it's hideously ugly compared to the 6 colour one, but I could be wrong), but at the moment, shouldn't we report how things are, not how some people wish them to be? Shane King 14:19, Oct 26, 2004 (UTC)

As indicated in the article the eight stripes certainly are real, but, as is now confused in the article, they are past, not current, having been pushed aside by the cheaper and simpler six. Perhaps a revert is in order? Hyacinth 20:29, 26 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I'm not sure about a revert, I wouldn't want to lose something else from the article by doing that, but reworking to make it clear that someone is attempting to have it make a comback could be in order. I'll try to do that now. Shane King 12:31, Oct 27, 2004 (UTC)
I am aware that the originator of the flag wants us to use the eight striped version. I would reject this outright and I'm sure most GLBT would aswell. The 6 striped flag is now our international banner and I see no benefit to confusing this. Enzedbrit 09:34, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Eight stripes was the original but pink and turquoise had to be dropped for production reasons (there simply weren't standard colors in fabric, dyes or thread in the volume needed for those two colors). Gilbert baker would insist on the eight colors whenever possible but reality dictates when that is possible. Benjiboi 20:41, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Pink - sexuality
  • Red - life
  • Orange - healing
  • Yellow - sunlight
  • Green - nature
  • Turquoise - magic
  • Blue - serenity
  • Violet - spirit

Loop the loop[edit]

Um - I notice that the link for Gilbert Baker is pointing to this page, so clicking it brings you to the top of the page it's on. Should the link just go, or is someone going to write an article on Gilbert? Have good days!Chidom talk  23:00, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Split this article[edit]

I think Rainbow flag should be a disambiguation page, linking to Gay Pride flag, Rainbow Peace flag et al. For comparison, Flag of Indonesia and Flag of Monaco are two distinct pages for flags with very similar designs but unrelated meanings and usage. jnestorius(talk) 23:59, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree. Kat, Queen of Typos 20:33, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
Ditto. --Belg4mit 07:20, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Sounds fine to me. - Montréalais 21:52, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. I put the "No to the Bush Agenda" flag photo up and that should be under the Peace flag. --DavidShankBone 17:24, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
I disagree. It's going to be an extremely confusing dabpage and there's nothing preventing separate articles with the current format. The analogy to the similarity of the flags of Indonesia and Monaco is hardly comparable since the design is so much simpler. That identical flags of two or even three basic colors exist is one thing, but the rainbow colors is something else entirely. I think the concept deserves its own article.
Peter Isotalo 20:58, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
Why should it be confusing? A thumbnail of each with the name is clear and compact enough... Besides the advantages of clearer single-topic pages, and separating non-related content, it will help to not read in one paragraph that "blue represents the ocean" and then in the next "blue represents serenity" or "bleu represents the cheese." --Belg4mit 03:13, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
heh... "the cheese" ^_^
Again, separating content does not mean you have to gut the page and turn it into a bare-bones dabpage. That so many flags with such vastly different symbolism have still chosen pretty much the exact same design tells me that the concept of a rainbow flag itself deserves a proper separate article.
I'm not trying to obstruct here, btw. I'm just trying to suggest that the concept in of itself merits separate treatment.
Peter Isotalo 08:01, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
So you're not anti-split, you're anti-gut to a minimalistic disambig. That's fine, call a spade a spade :-P Of course that's probably going to be hard to do (depending on your perceptions). As to "deserves a proper article", probably (as the body of the disambig page?), but unless you can find any research on the matter there's not much more to include other than the fact that it's common besides speculation (it's the light spectrum, something everyone can see; diversity in unity [white light] blah blah blah) or the evil "orginal research." --Belg4mit 02:31, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm going to jump in and indicate support for the split. The current page design is stupid and unclear. Considering the two major uses (peace and queer rights) are so different (well potentially anyway...), it is stupid to have them both together. That said, if I hear no objections, I may go ahead and split the article in the next while. ~AFA pony. 13:33, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

I have to agree with Belg4mit's objections to Peter Isotalo's argument. In any case, if there are generic symbolic qualities of the rainbow, they might better be discussed at Rainbow#Rainbows in culture rather than here.
On a separate point, comparison with other flag pages might provide food for thought:
  • red flag deals with only one variety.
  • green flag is a short disambiguation;
  • black flag I've just changed to refactor out list of black flags, which is a bit more than a disambiguation;
  • white flag is most similar to this page in spirit, but none of the sections there is very long; I reckon the initial section on the surrender flag is about long enough for a separate article from the rest.
I think on reflection that the Gay pride flag and the Rainbow peace flag each deserves its own article; wiphala already has one; the others could be enumerated via a disambiguation page if each gets its own article, or as a list or gallery (to allow for references) if they are just one-liners. jnestorius(talk) 19:59, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
Create separate articles for Gay pride flag, Rainbow peace flag, etc that have enough to support an article and have a summary paragraph that directs to the full articles. A gallery of all the flags would be helpful as well. Benjiboi 11:37, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Missing instance[edit]

Meher Baba lovers (as followers of this sect are apt to call themselves) use an inverted rainbow flag. I also recall seeing a variant which includes brown and black stripes on the bottom. --Belg4mit 07:25, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Actually, it may not have had anything to do with Baba and just be a variant of a peace flag as I've since seen flags similar to what I recollect, but with a large image of the Earth in the middle surrounded by the text "peace for all" in multiple languages. The 9 color bands are, top-down:
--Belg4mit 05:44, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
Here is a link ( on the history and appearance of Meher Baba's flag. DeanaG 04:04, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

LGBT boxes[edit]

Do we really need both boxes? They take up a hell of a lot of room and are somewhat redundant. I should think the rights one ought to be adequate. Particularly since "gay studies" doesn't seem to really include vexillology. --Belg4mit 03:54, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Buddhist flag[edit]

This in no way appear to be any more of a rainbow than the Olympic or Mauritian flags, and unless I'm convinced otherwise I intend to remove it from the page. --Belg4mit 22:35, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

I don't know why anyone would want to eliminate part of this article or break it into a disambiguation page. I find the article very informative and enlightening, and it cleared up a lot of confusion for me about the background on the various apparently similar flags. So this article has information on 'rainbow flags" that wouldn't necessarily be clear in simply sub-articles. There is a precedent for an article on the overall category as well as sub-categories. For instance dog and Gray Wolf. Maybe that's not a perfect analogy, but it makes the point. I also found it interesting to see the Buddhist flag mention, as I would not have thought of it. I don't think the Buddhitst flag is like the Olympic flag. One has stripes reminiscent of a rainbow and the other doesn't. Cott12 18:19, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
Neither is in anyway rainbow-like other than by the inclusion of several colors, which is true of many flags. --Belg4mit 04:29, 13 September 2007 (UTC)
I disagree completely. Firstly, the fact that others editors included it and have incorporated in the first place indicates that at least some people expect its inclusion so removing it seems pointless as it would simply be added again although that alone is not the best reason for anything to be in an article. Secondly, there may be a way to address a "second tier" of flags that fall into the category of those not explicitly rainbow-like but which still have multiple rainbow colors so their inclusion on some level would seem appropriate. I think, however, since the article is still developing that simply following the current format for now makes the most sense. The article doesn't have an expert who's fully vetted the rainbow flags concept and it's usage and development over time, each section and the main articles spin-offs for a few all need work. If I were to wave the almighty magic wish wand each section would be more fully vetted for references and history, usage, etc. Links to each section's main articles (if they exist) included and overall references found for studying the history of flags for those who are seeking the information. At this point this article is simply a touchstone for information and there are mighty gaps of knowledge but it's a good start, I think pruning is premature. Benjiboi 18:23, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

Concur with Belg4mit. In looking at the article for the first time, I was struck by inappropriateness of including the Buddhist flag. It isn't rainbow-like at all, although one or more editors may see it that way. For an object to reasonably be considered rainbow-like, several colors that are adjacent in hue should be present, and all colors present should be arranged sequentially in order of wavelength. The Buddhist flag depicted fails to meet these criteria either with its large blue-yellow-red-white-orange sequence or its small blue-yellow-red-white sequence. In the absence of a compelling reason to the contrary, I'd like to see us move toward consensus for removing the section. Rivertorch (talk) 03:37, 11 December 2007 (UTC) Thirty days have passed since I posted this comment, and I am removing the section. No one has spoken up in favor of keeping it. No one has spoken against it, either, but it's demonstrably not rainbow-like, so I'm deciding to be bold. Away it goes. Rivertorch (talk) 07:33, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Order of the colors[edit]

Once I heard that the gay flag starts with the purple stripe, which would be a way to differ it from the flags of Peruan indigenous movements (like this and this). Could someone confirm it? We may check that it is true, indeed, by the pics inserted in the article... --Tonyjeff 22:23, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

This article is not appropriate for turning into a disambiguation page because the different flags discussed are not different uses of the term "rainbow flag." The suggestion to split the article has been posted for 7 months and there has been no consensus. I am removing if there are no objections. Tommytocker 14:24, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
I don't think it's fair to say there's no consensus, but rather that's there no overwhelming need, so nobody has spoken up nor gotten around to doing it. I know that I certainly feel something ought to be done. --Belg4mit 17:01, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
The pride flag goes both ways, but it's more commonly hoisted with the red stripe at the top. The Wednesday Island 17:23, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

Order of sections[edit]

Why do the sections of this article appear in reverse order from history? For instance the most recent form is fist, then the older, then the older still, and so on? This seems reverse from how articles generally go. This should be reversed. Cott12 23:07, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

I'm not completely familiar with the contents of the article but yes, after the lede (introduction) history or early representatives should follow working down through to modern events. Each section should try to reference dates (years is fine) so the average reader can sense the progression over time. In this way new events and newly created flags would logically go at the end of timelines or histories. Deference should also be given to the "average" reader, make the article flow and section titles convey the information so one could quickly scan the Table of Contents and skip to information they are looking for. Benjiboi 23:49, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
I have made an attempt to clarify the order of sequence as mentioned. I removed some of the images that appear on the Main Articles that are linked to in order to create more clarity and generally simplify the page. The images are still seen on the main articles when you link to them. I put the PACE flag at the top because it has the actual seven colors of the rainbow so is most representative. Cott12 00:26, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
I've done a bit myself trying to clean up the lede, The "Non-white groups and cultures" section needs to be renamed and probably broken up. If the Incans used rainbow flags then they may be the first documented ones. Benjiboi 05:32, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

Dates and refs[edit]

This article will be greatly helped for all concerned to document dates of uses for timeline purposes and finding references to support the text as well as general references. Benjiboi 05:34, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

Pride or Racism?[edit]

This article has a decidedly Eurocentric layout, listing European and American rainbow flags first in order of their creation, followed by "non-anglo" flags regardless of when they were brought into use - as if belonging to second class world citizens. The Inca, Buddhist and Meher Baba designs all are from at least the early 1920s. See Inca Empire#Controversies. Tommytocker 23:42, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

Please add dates (presumably with a reference as well to verify) so that all the sections can be brought into a meaningful chronological order. Benjiboi 00:26, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
I tried to do what was just suggested. I think the order is okay. I changed the opening section name to European History, and the lower to South American and I don't think it seems racist. Also the Inca version's date is not without controversy as you can see, though there seems to be a lot of weight on the argument that it is a 'rescued' pre-columbian design, at least from the articles I could find that discussed the debate. There is a lot of archeological evidence. To read the Spanish article on the topic of its origin, that is scholarly, I suggest using It does a very clean translation of the page. Cott12 15:12, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
I've moved the sections into chronological order, future researchers may be able to source more accurate information or even to see if there is connections from one use to another. I think in addition to the gallery each section should have a representative photo so we have an idea of the similarity and differences. Benjiboi 15:16, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Much gratitude. A much better article. Tommytocker 15:22, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Flag baba.jpg[edit]

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I'm not understanding what "the actual basic colors" in the intro means, nor "the actual rainbow colors" in the intro image caption. Isn't the division of the color spectrum entirely arbitrary? I'm not having a problem with "the traditional rainbow colors", because those are attributable to Newton, but if we are to use "the actual basic colors", we really need proof of contemporary scholarly agreement. The link provided (to Color#Physics of color) certainly makes no case for the seven colors listed here (and shown in the PACE flag) being intrinsically "basic". -- Jao (talk) 11:13, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

The wording probably could be better. The phrase "actual basic colors red, orange, yellow, green, cyan, blue and violet" apparently refers to the primary and secondary colors of the common color models (with "violet" being sort of a weasely catch-all term used to encompass any hue of a purple, violet, or magenta persuasion). While the division of the color spectrum may indeed be arbitrary, there traditionally has been some agreement, at least in the developed world and certainly in the West, about the approximate locations of the divisions, I'd say. As to the caption, I think the intent may be to indicate that the graphic attempts to depict the colors actually found on the flag. Again, the wording could be better. Please have a go at clarifying. Rivertorch (talk) 16:14, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
Very well, just wanted to make sure there was nothing I had missed. I had a go, please give your opinion on the new wording. -- Jao (talk) 16:59, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
Much better! Perhaps the order of color in the captions should be reversed to read from top to bottom. Think I'll do that now. Rivertorch (talk) 20:35, 15 February 2008 (UTC)
Good idea! -- Jao (talk) 01:49, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Image:Banner_of_the_Inca_Empire.svg listed for deletion[edit]

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Biblical reference[edit]

I think I get what is being stated here but it infers that what is written in the Bible is factual which I don't think we want to do here. Can anyone fix this so it actually is more NPOV and refers to the Biblical story or ? Also those refes for it seem less than stellar, they may be fine but surely there is a more academic book. -- Banjeboi 10:16, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Personally, I think we should lose it; neither of the references given actually tell you that Christians use the rainbow flag, never mind that it has a "long history" of use based on the Noah story. The Wednesday Island (talk) 16:13, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

"Throw another log on the fire..."[edit]

The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls (IORG) , a Masonic Youth Organization dating from April 6, 1922, also uses a rainbow flag and banner:

Tadchem (talk) 15:39, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

Left side?[edit]

The section about the LGTB flag contains an unclear statement: "it .. should always be displayed with red on top or to left." This is unclear because a flag on a flagpole does not have a left side. Does the statement refer only to flags pinned on a wall?

This is not at all unclear. It refers to a flag hung vertically rather than its usual horizontal position. The Pride Flag is always hung on the vertical with the red stripe to the left, just as the tri-color U.S. flag is always hung with the red "to the right", meaning the color order is blue-white-red when hung vertically. Djathinkimacowboy 21:08, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

Rainbow imperialism[edit]

The flag in modern times has been associated with cultural imperialism and colonization. (See: "Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures", "Finding space in gay Japan")

Petey Parrot (talk) 02:11, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

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English please[edit]

"Some specialists suggest that there are chronicles and some references that support the idea of a banner attributable to the Inca. In 1534 during the invasion and occupation of the city of Qusqu today Cusco, the Spaniards found the first resistance of qhishwa-ayrnaras and saw between the multitude, objects similar to the flag of strips and pictures of seven colors of the rainbow. The existence and the use of this emblem probably has been from the same creation of Tiwanaku for more than 2000 years." Can someone please rewrite this so that it actually makes sense? --Khajidha (talk) 16:57, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

GA Reassessment[edit]

This discussion is transcluded from Talk:Rainbow flag/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the reassessment.

This article has been expanded with a lot of unsourced content since passing GA in 2007. Therefore, it fails GA criteria 2. sst 12:27, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

  • Since there has been no progress after more than 7 days of the start of the reassessment, and I have already notified relevant WikiProjects, I am delisting this article. sst 08:12, 22 October 2015 (UTC)