Unlike within the various LGBT communities worldwide which have adopted the Rainbow flag, the various transgender individuals and communities around the world have not coalesced around one single flag design. Instead, there are several flags used and endorsed by the varying transgender individuals and communities around the world. These varying flags have been and continue to be used to represent transgender pride, diversity and/or transgender rights by both transgender individuals, their communities and their allies.
The earliest known transgender pride flag was created by the "Queer Nation Transgender Focus Group" on October 17th, 1991. Dawn Holland is responsible for the central design, using traditional gay and gender symbolism set within the traditional inverted pink triangle on an all white field.
An alternative transgender pride flag was designed In 1999. Unlike Holland's flag eight years earlier, this newer flag was more reminiscent of the traditional gay pride flag. The flag featured pink and blue bars, representing the male and female genders, with a more traditional transgender symbol located in the upper-left corner. Not much is known about the designer of the flag other then that he/she was known on the internet only as “Captain John.”
In 1999, Michael Page, the creator of the Bisexual Pride Flag, suggested to longtime Phoenix resident, Monica Helms, that she should create a pride flag for the transgender community. An idea for a design came to Helms quickly; “it was almost like waking up from a dream and seeing it,” she recollected later.
She requested swatches from a flag and banner company, and about a week after giving them her color and design specifications, she had completed her design for the Transgender Pride Flag on August 19th, 1999. The flag represents the transgender community and consists of five horizontal stripes: two light blue, two pink, and one white in the center. Helms describes the meaning of the transgender 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 intersex, transitioning or consider themselves having a neutral or undefined gender. The pattern is such that no matter which way you fly it, it is always correct, signifying us finding correctness in our lives" - Monica Helms
The Transgender Pride Flag made its public debut the next year when Helms flew it at the 2000 Phoenix Pride Parade in Phoenix, Arizona. After that, she used it “everywhere and anywhere,” and before long, “People caught on and decided that they wanted one.” Just two years after it flew at that first parade, the flag flew in Harvey Milk Plaza in San Francisco’s famed Castro District, on the eve of that year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Helms’ pride flag has not only become a national symbol of transgender visibility, but a global one as well. It has been seen as far and wide as the United Kingdom, Croatia, Honduras, Montenegro, Serbia, Russia, Australia, Slovakia, Japan, and Peru. Another variation of it, with another transgender symbol superimposed over its stripes, flew in Turkey as well. Helms’ design and colours have been universally used in badges, logos and other designs by the transgender community.
Helms’ original transgender pride flag was added to the Smithsonian Museum of American History during a ceremony on August 19th, 2014.
Since it's design, other transgender communities have used Helms' design to create their own flag to represent their specific community as well. Some of these altered flag designes include the following:
An alternative and less used “Transgender Pride Flag” made it’s debut on July 20th, 2002.
This alternative flag was designed by transgender woman Jennifer Pellinen who was apparently unaware of Monica Helms' earlier design and, like her, wanted to create a separate flag of identity for the trans community. Pellinen's flag abandons the "mirrored" stripe scheme of Monica Helms' original pride flag, and was more reminiscent of the traditional LGBT rainbow pride flag instead. Like Helms’ flag, Pellinen’s flag represents the various “shades” to transgenderism between the traditional pink and blue gender colours.
In addition to the previous flags, other transgender communities in other nations have also designed their own "Transgender Pride Flags" to represent their own nation. Some of these flags/nations include:
In addition to the general transgender pride flags, two flags have been designed to represent the Annual "Transgender Day of Remembrance." these flags include the following:
This flag is most commonly used for the "Transgender Day of Remembrance" every November 20th, which is for memorializing transgender men & women who have been killed because of anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The flag was designed shortly after the "Transgender Day of Remembrance" was started in 1999.
This remembrance flag is flown in Ottawa, Canada every November 20th during the annual “Transgender Day of Remembrance”. The flag was designed by Michelle Lindsay sometime before 2009. It incorporates the transgender symbol that has become most popular among the transgender community.
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