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What Does the Rainbow Pride Flag Mean?

Thursday March 26, 2020

The rainbow flag is synonymous with the LGBT+ community and most pride parades and organizations feature the rainbow in some form or another.

Ever since Judy Garland rose to fame as Dorothy Gale in "The Wizard of Oz" and belted out "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," it has stuck as a metaphor for the community. Many are still living in the black-and-white world of Kansas, while many more can go over the rainbow and live in full technicolor. But why is the rainbow flag used for the LGBT+ community?

What Does the Flag Mean?

The flag was designed in 1978 by artist Gilbert Baker and rose to prominence as a symbolism for the diversity of the LGBT+ community while also touting visibility for all sexualities. It was present at pride events and a mile-long version was featured at the 25th anniversary of Stonewall.

Each color has a symbolic meaning, with stripes representing life, healing, sunlight, nature, harmony, and spirit. While it also stands for the Dorothy Gale references, many refer to the rainbow being a good product coming out of a bad situation. Or the rainbow appearing after the rain. The symbolism shows a fighting spirit, a sense of community and a belief that something good will always come out of the bad, which is compounded by the LGBT+ slogan "it gets better."

The Ever-Changing Flag

Over the years, there have been other elements added to the flag. A black stripe was added in the 1980s as a tribute to the victims of the AIDS crisis, while a blue and pink version was created in the 2010s for the trans community. Smaller subsets have different versions of the flag, with one being for bisexuality and another referencing the bear community, for instance.

The overarching rainbow flag refers to the many facets of the community and how strong we are when we are all on the same side and sticking together — just like a rainbow.

Don't Forget the Irish!

However, the rainbow also symbolizes good luck. This is based on the traditional Irish legend of the leprechaun, who follows a rainbow to find a pot of gold at the end of it. While the rainbow is most often symbolic of the LGBT+ community, there are occasions where the rainbow is still used to denote luck. Case in point: As we can see from Canada's most comprehensive bonus guide, there are many online slot games available to play that use the rainbow iconography in order to symbolize the potential to feel lucky when playing games. Indeed, there are several games themed after it, including Rainbow Riches, a popular slot game available on many sites developed by Barcrest.

The rainbow is a well-known symbol from around the world. Social media users often incorporate the rainbow flag into their bios to let people known that they identify as LGBT+, while rainbow laces and crests were added to some sports, such as UK football, to show solidarity with the community. During Pride month, companies will add rainbow elements to their logos and show solidarity with the community, while candy brand Skittles removed the colorings from their product during the month to show respect for the community.

Most people know what it means, but few actually know the long history that the rainbow flag has.

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