What does LGBT stand for, what does the rainbow design of the Gay Pride flag mean and when was the LGBT+ pride flag introduced?

MILLIONS celebrate Pride month around the world and the colourful flag adds a splash of vibrance to already colourful celebrations.

But why is a rainbow used as the pride symbol and what is the history behind it? Here's the lowdown.

What does LGBT stand for?

LGBT is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender – a term used to represent the wider community.

The acronym has been commonly used since the 1990s but is believed to have existed for much longer.

LGBT is often referred to as LGBTQ to incorporate those who identify as queer.

And the acronym LGBTQ+ is also used to incorporate various spectrums of sexuality and gender.

What is the Gay Pride flag? What do the rainbow colours mean?

The rainbow flag has become widely known as a symbol for the LGBT community.

It is typically made up of six stripes which appear in descending order from red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet, which are positioned horizontally.

Originally there were eight colours in the flag, including hot pink and turquoise, with each having their own meaning.

The amount was later reduced to due to limited availability of the hot pink fabric.

Gilbert Baker from Kansas, USA, created the iconic flag.

He taught himself to sew after getting an honourable discharge from the army in 1970.

He met influential gay leader Harvey Milk in 1974, who challenged him to come up with a symbol for the gay community three years into their friendship.

Rumour has it that Gilbert got his inspiration for the flag from the famous Judy Garland song Over the Rainbow.

Judy was of course a popular gay icon, and some say Gilbert was inspired after the Stonewall riots that occurred days after her death.

The riots, which saw members of the gay community stand against a police raid in Manhattan, are considered to be the most important event in the modern fight for LGBT rights in the US.

Another suggestion for the origin of the flag is college campuses demonstrating for world peace in the 1960s by carrying a Flag of the Races.

It held five horizontal stripes in red, white, brown, yellow and black.

When was the first Gay Pride flag used?

The original gay pride flag was seen in the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade on June 25, 1978.

Around 30 volunteers helped to hand-dye and stitch the first two flags for the parade.

Demand increased after Harvey was assassinated on November 27, 1978 and the Paramount Flag Company started selling the seven striped version – red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, blue and violet.

What do the rainbow colours in the Pride flag mean?

Each colour in the original flag had a different meaning, which many still celebrate today.

When the flag was first created, each colour in the rainbow design had a different meaning

  • Hot pink – sex
  • Red – life
  • Orange – healing
  • Yellow – sunlight
  • Green – nature
  • Turquoise – magic/art
  • Indigo – serenity
  • Violet – spirit

When is Pride month?

Pride Month is June, although events won't be happening in the UK until later in the year due the coronavirus pandemic.

Major UK cities usually hold their own Pride parades.

For example, in the UK parades are held in both London and Manchester and attract huge amounts of people wanting to join in the celebration.

These were cancelled in 2020 due to pandemic, but they're back this year – starting with Trans Pride London on June 26.

Manchester Pride is scheduled for August Bank Holiday weekend (August 27-30) and it's London equivalent will be on Saturday, September 11.

Pride events may still be cancelled this year if the coronavirus situation deteriorates in the UK.

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