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A look at gay symbols and their meaning

Posted by mandyf on December 29, 2008

Just as sports fans wear their team’s colors and corporations can be recognized by their specific logo, the gay community has it’s symbols to show our pride in who we are. Every faction of the LGBTQI (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Queer/Intersex) community has their own specific symbols as well. Some of them such as the rainbow or interlocking male symbols are well known, others like the pansy slowly faded away to an afterthought. Sometimes things like red ties and pinkie rings became adopted by the mainstream and no longer specific to gay culture. Where did the symbols of today’s gay society originate and what do they really mean?

The rainbow has long been the symbol of the entire LGBTQI. It was first developed by a San Francisco artist named Gilbert Baker in 1978 as he felt there was a need for a gay symbol which could be used year after year. He was correct in his choice as thirty years later it is still the banner we of the LGBTQI community wave proudly to let the world know who we are. The colors individually are symbolically important as each represents some aspect of gay life. Hot pink he said symbolized sexuality and red life. Orange was for healing while yellow and green symbolized the sun and nature respectively. Blue stood for art, and the indigo and violet stripes represented harmony and spirit. When combined this was the rainbow and was not only meant to represent the above aspects of gay life, but the diverse nature of sexual preferences and identities.

The pink and black triangle found a renewed prominence in the 1970’s when it was adopted as a symbol of the gay liberation movement. Originally as many of us are aware of, this was a symbol used by the Nazis in concentration camps, something which had nothing but ugliness and psin associated to it. As those labeled as criminals were marked with colored triangles to identify their status, homosexuals were marked with the pink triangle. Women bearing the black triangle were generally lesbians, but also included feminists, prostitutes, and any woman not conforming to Nazi ideals of womanhood. It has been rumored but never proved that transgender prisoners were denoted with a burgundy triangle. In the 1980’s the organization ACT-UP adopted the pink triangle as well but inverted it to symbolize an active ongoing fight against AIDS. It is worth note that gay prisoners were not liberated immediately after the war with other prisoners due to paragraph 175 of West German law until 1969, a ….Read the rest here at: http://www.helium.com/items/1036981-a-look-at-gay-symbols-and-their-meaning


One Response to “A look at gay symbols and their meaning”

  1. i’ve always liked the rainbow as the gay symbol – it symbolizes diversity and happiness and our colorful world

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