Transgender flags

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Unlike the wider LGBT communities worldwide which have adopted the Rainbow flag, the various transgender individuals, organizations and communities around the world have not coalesced around one single flag design. The most common flag is the blue, pink, and white one designed by Monica Helms, but there are several flags used and endorsed by the varying transgender individuals, organizations and communities.[1] There have even been, and continue to be, alternatives to these flags suggested.[2] The varying flags have been and continue to be used to represent transgender pride, diversity, rights and/or remembrance by transgender individuals, their organizations, their communities and their allies.

Helms' design[edit]

The most prominent[3] of these flag designs is known as the "Transgender Pride Flag" which is a symbol of transgender pride and diversity, and transgender rights.

Transgender Pride Flag

The Transgender Pride Flag was created by American trans woman Monica Helms in 1999,[4][5] and was first shown at a pride parade in Phoenix, Arizona, United States in 2000.[6]

The flag represents the transgender community and consists of five horizontal stripes: two light blue, two pinks, and one white in the center.

Helms describes the meaning of the transgender pride flag as follows:

"The stripes at the top and bottom are light blue, the traditional color for baby boys. The stripes next to them are pink, the traditional color for baby girls. The stripe in the middle is white, for those who are transitioning or consider themselves having a neutral or undefined gender."[7][8]

In the United Kingdom, Brighton and Hove council flies this flag on the Transgender Day of Remembrance.[9] Transport for London also flew the flag from London Underground's 55 Broadway Headquarters for the 2016 Transgender Awareness Week.

It was flown from the large public flagpole in San Francisco's Castro District (where the rainbow flag usually flies) for the first time on 19 and 20 November 2012 in commemoration of the Transgender Day of Remembrance.[6][10][11] The flag-raising ceremony was presided over by local drag queen La Monistat.[11][12]

On 19 August 2014, Monica Helms donated the original transgender pride flag to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.[13]

Philadelphia became the first county government in the U.S. to raise the transgender pride flag in 2015. It was raised at City Hall in honor of Philadelphia's 14th Annual Trans Health Conference, and remained next to the US and City of Philadelphia flags for the entirety of the conference. Then-Mayor Michael Nutter gave a speech in honor of the trans community's acceptance in Philadelphia.[14]

Transgender flag hanging out front of Congressmember Ruben Gallego's office at the United States Capitol

In January 2019, Virginia Representative Jennifer Wexton hung the transgender pride flag outside her office in Washington, D.C. in a move to show support for the transgender community.[15][16] In March 2019, dozens of Democratic and independent members of Congress flew this flag outside their offices for Trans Visibility Week leading up to the International Transgender Day of Visibility.[17][18]

The flag flew above US state capitol buildings for the first time on Transgender Day of Remembrance 2019. The Iowa State Capitol[19] and California State Capitol[20] displayed the flag.

An emoji version of the flag (🏳️‍⚧️) was added to the standard Emoji listing in 2020.[21]


In addition to Monica Helms’ original transgender pride flag design, a number of communities have created their variation on the flag, adding symbols or elements to reflect aspects of transgender identity, such as the canton of the Flag of the United States being added to create a flag representing transgender American identity.[1]

Black variant[edit]

Black Trans Flag

A variant of the Transgender Pride Flag called the "Black Trans Flag" was created by trans activist and writer Raquel Willis. It has a black stripe in the middle instead of the original white stripe. Willis created it as a symbol to represent the higher levels of discrimination, violence, and murder that the black trans community faces in contrast to the larger transgender movement. It was first posted to her Facebook account, and it was first widely used on 25 August 2015 by black transgender activists throughout the United States as part of the first Black Trans Liberation Tuesday.[22][23] Black Trans Liberation Tuesday was held in conjunction with Black Lives Matter, for the black transgender women murdered throughout the year.

Alternative designs[edit]

Over the years several transgender flags have been adopted by various transgender individuals, organizations and communities.

Israeli flag[edit]

Israeli transgender and genderqueer flag

A unique design is used in Israel by their transgender and genderqueer community.[24][better source needed] This flag has a neon green background (to stand out in public places) and a centred Venus, Mars, and Mars with stroke symbol ("⚧") in black to represent transgender people.

Lindsay design[edit]

In Ontario a flag known as the "Trans Flag", created by Ottawa graphic designer Michelle Lindsay, is used. It consists of two stripes, the top in Sunset Magenta representing female, and the bottom in Ocean Blue representing male, with a tripled Venus, Mars, and Mars with stroke symbol ("⚧") representing transgender people, overlaying them.

The Trans Flag was first used by the Ottawa-area trans community for Ottawa's 2010 edition of the Trans Day of Remembrance. This event included a ceremony in which the Ottawa Police unveiled and raised this flag.[25] The ceremony was repeated during the 2011 Ottawa and Gatineau editions of the Trans Day of Remembrance, this time joined by the Ottawa Paramedics, Ottawa City Hall and Gatineau City Hall also raising the Trans Flag during their own ceremonies. The list of groups doing official unfurling/raising of the Trans Flag in the Ottawa-Gatineau area as part of their Trans Day of Remembrance has grown each year.[citation needed] The Trans Flag has also been used as part of the Peterborough Pride Parade.[26]

Andrew design[edit]

The Transgender Pride Flag designed in 1999 by Johnathan Andrew ("Captain John") of the trans male website "Adventures in Boyland" (1999–2004).

In 1999, San Francisco trans man Johnathan Andrew, under the moniker of "Captain John" on his female-to-male trans website "Adventures in Boyland", designed and published a flag for those within the transgender community that identify as trans. This trans pride flag consists of seven stripes alternating in light pink and light blue separated by thin white stripes and featuring, in the upper left hoist, a twinned Venus and Mars symbol ("⚥") in lavender. The repeated explanation of the color symbolism for Monica Helms' more well-known flag design is remarkably similar/almost identical to that of the description of Andrew's design on other pages. The original description for Andrew's trans pride flag read:

"And finally, an AiB Exclusive—the Transgender Pride Flag (c)1999. Yes, indeedy—it's about time we had our own symbol to represent the community, ain't it? Bears have theirs. Leathermen have theirs. Why can't we have ours? And might we say that we feel these designs, designed by your friendly neighborhood Captain, embodies all aspects of our identities. Whether we're transgender or transsexual, going from male (blue) to female (pink) or from female (pink) to male (blue), or just somewhere in between, both flag designs capture the subtlties and the strengths of our spirits (and the white accents in between the lines are the—supposedly—the little triumphs that happen upon us during our journies to become whole (the flag as a whole)). The lavender-colored sex symbol—not to be confused with The Artist Currently Not Known as Purple's symbol—can also designate FtM/MtF/or Intersexed/Both/Shifting. As you can see, both flag designs/symbols can be used to encompass all types of gender variation. Hell, who knows, maybe it just might catch on (and Cpt. John will be elated—even more so when he get [sic] credit for the design)."[27]

Andrew resides in Oakland and has recently[when?] commented on the design. "I designed this flag at the time because back then, there was nothing for us besides the standard rainbow flag, the bear pride flag, the leather pride flag. Before Google existed in the capacity that it does today, I deep-searched the internet to see if I could find a trans pride flag and found none, so as an artist/designer, designed one myself for our community. The flag itself was meant to represent the [trans] community as a whole, with the twinned symbol representing our journey and the qualities that we possess. I published the design on my site as "the first trans pride flag", and some trans sites picked it up. We were all a tight-knit community of sites back then, linking to each other through pride webrings. Though it was my desire, I never had the funds to get it produced."[28]


In 2014 a new transgender flag known as the "Trans Kaleidoscope" was created by members of the Toronto Trans Alliance (TTA). It was raised at the first Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony at Toronto City Hall on 20 November 2014. It was selected by TTA member for this occasion, via a vote, over Monica Helms' Transgender Pride flag and Michelle Lindsay's Trans Flag. This vote caused debate, which is the primary source of this flag's notability, as some scorned the choice for a relatively unknown flag.[29] The flag has not received significant usage since the event.

The Trans Kaleidoscope is described on the TTA web site as: "The graded colours represent the range of gender identities across the spectrum with individual colours representing:

  • Pink: women/femaleness
  • Purple: those who feel their gender identity is a combination of male and female
  • Green: those who feel their gender identity is neither male nor female
  • Blue: men/maleness
  • Yellow: intersex

The new white symbol with a black border is an extension of the Trans symbol with the male and female symbols, a combined symbol representing those with a gender identity combining male and female and a plain pole (with neither arrow nor bar) representing those with a gender identity that is neither male nor female, embodying awareness and inclusion of all."[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "History of the Pride Flag". Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  2. ^ "Trans* flag". Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  3. ^ A Storied Glossary of Iconic LGBT Flags and Symbols Matt Petronzio, 13 June 2014.
  4. ^ Brian van de Mark (10 May 2007). "Gay and Lesbian Times". Archived from the original on 6 September 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2016.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  5. ^ Fairyington, Stephanie (12 November 2014). "The Smithsonian's Queer Collection". The Advocate. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Transgender Flag Flies In San Francisco's Castro District After Outrage From Activists" by Aaron Sankin, HuffingtonPost, 20 November 2012.
  7. ^ Gray, Emma; Vagianos, Alanna (27 July 2017). "We Have A Navy Veteran To Thank For The Transgender Pride Flag". Huffington Post. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  8. ^ LB, Branson (26 July 2017). "The Veteran Who Created The Trans Pride Flag Reacts To Trump's Trans Military Ban". Buzzfeed. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  9. ^ Council flagpoles now celebrate diversity and druids; The Daily Telegraph, 4 April 2011.
  10. ^ Wilkey, Robin (23 October 2012). "Controversy Erupts Over San Francisco's Famous Rainbow Flag". Huffington Post.
  11. ^ a b "USA – Transgender Pride flag raised for the first time in the Castro".
  12. ^ "FOF #991 – La Monistat Keeps it Fresh!". Feast of Fun.
  13. ^ Kutner, Max. "A Proud Day at American History Museum as LGBT Artifacts Enter the Collections". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  14. ^ "Philadelphia Raises the Transgender Pride Flag for the First Time". The Advocate.
  15. ^ Martinez, Gina (5 January 2019). "Rep. Jennifer Wexton Hangs Transgender Pride Flag Outside Her Capitol Hill Office". Time. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  16. ^ "Transgender pride flag hung in Congress by Rep. Jennifer Wexton". NBC News. 4 January 2019. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  17. ^ Tim Fitzsimons, Sanders, Pelosi, Ocasio-Cortez hang transgender pride flags in Congress, 26 March 2019, NBCNews
  18. ^
  19. ^ Hytrek, Nikoel (20 November 2019). "Iowa First State To Fly Trans Flag Over Capitol For Transgender Day Of Rememberance[sic]". Iowa Starting Line.
  20. ^ "Gov. Gavin Newsom Orders Transgender Pride Flag To Fly Over State Capitol For Day Of Remembrance". CBS Sacramento. 20 November 2019. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  21. ^ "Emoji Version 13.0 List". Emojipedia. 29 January 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  22. ^ Willis, Raquel (23 August 2016). "Black Trans Liberation Tuesday Must Become an Annual Observance". Rewire News. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  23. ^ Talusan, Meredith (26 August 2015). "Black Lives Matter Calls Attention To Killed Black Trans Women On National Day of Action". Buzzfeed News. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  24. ^ GoTrans. "יום הזיכרון בתמונות – Trans* memorial day in pictures". gogay. Retrieved 20 November 2009.
  25. ^ "Ottawa Police observe the Transgender Day of Remembrance". Orleans Star. 21 November 2010. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  26. ^ "Trans Flag web site". Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  27. ^ "Wayback Machine: Adventures in Boyland". Archived from the original on 6 March 2001. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  28. ^ "History of the Pride Flag". Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  29. ^ "Trans activists clash over flag raising at Toronto City Hall" by HG Watson". Daily Xtra. 20 November 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  30. ^ "Which Flag Should be Raised at TDOR?". Archived from the original on 24 May 2019. Retrieved 25 September 2016.

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