It is the time of the year when the rainbow flags bring color to the streets, and the LGBTQ+ anthems are on repeat across bars, restaurants, and shops.

Pride Month represents a celebration and acknowledgment of the evolution and work that still needs to be done for LGBTQ+ justice.

This month-long observance traces its origins to the Stonewall Riots of June 1969, when customers and LBGTQ+ members at the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted a police raid, which unraveled into a series of protests around the world that galvanized some of the very first steps of the LGBTQ+ rights movement. 

Adidas launched a Pride 2024 collection in collaboration with Brazilian drag star Pabllo Vittar. 

From events, parades, and marches to book discussions, happy hours, and recreational activities for people of all ages and genders, in Pride Month, we reflect on the strides made towards equality, a celebration of diversity and love, and a reminder of the ongoing work ahead to tackle division, segregation, and exclusion. 

Every June is also a reference point to see where we are at and where we were in June of last year regarding LGBTQ+ rights, issues, and accessibility of essential rights that, disproportionately, are harder for this community to obtain. But there is still a lot to demystify on LGBTQ+. Not just what each of the letters in the abbreviation stands for but the history, challenges, historical figures, fashion, and social movement as a whole.

Cibely Montenegro in Pride Guatemala 2023. Image Courtesy of @_cibelyc/

The Pride movement, which has prevailed for several decades and continues to grow with new generations joining and more advocates using their voices to raise awareness on different branches of these areas, is a movement that is recognizable and celebrated around the world. How does a movement transcend decades, languages, and continents? Because of symbolism. 

The symbolism of Pride has become an important political fashion issue in recent years, where, despite the undeniable progress, there have been a lot of back and forths, dehumanizing language, and threatening attacks, particularly against the trans community. Flags continue to be a language of union and one that is very political, too, in a context where human rights and mental health accessibility are at stake.

The evolution of the rainbow flag

World Pride Madrid 2017. Image Courtesy of VOA News.

As the Pride movement gained relevance and a significant amount of followers, there needed to be a symbol that unified all the people who stood for this movement.

In the 1960s, before the Stonewall Inn riots, queer people were gathering secretly at bars to be their authentic selves, and their arrests entailed brutality, severe punishments, and violence.

So, there were many feelings for fighting against this repression. There was anger towards the injustice, thinking about the heteronormative society that allows straight couples to walk into bars without the fear of being persecuted, while the non-heterosexual were sentenced to be hidden or arrested and punished if caught.

Pride in Sao Paulo. 

There was also a sense of joy because the intolerance and frustration brought the LGBTQ+ community to fight against oppression. There was not just one soldier fighting solo in this war. There were thousands and thousands of people who began to gather in major cities, united with the whole purpose of supporting each other in order to secure a better future for themselves. But it was also celebratory to have all these people together after several hundreds of years of oppression and loneliness.

These feelings gathered people of different backgrounds, cultures, and ages together to solidify the Pride Movement. But these feelings, push for change, and a sense of togetherness needed a visual symbol to be recognizable and identifiable wherever people go. So, the Pride flag came along. 

Image Courtesy of Pride in London 2017. 

Evolution of the Flag

Rainbow flag designed by artist Gilbert Baker. 

As the flags of many countries have evolved throughout their history and development, the Pride flag is no exception to suffer from some iterations and adaptations. 

The flag has changed because more and better studies and vocabulary have come out in order for us to better understand the wide spectrum of diversity when it comes to gender identities and sexual orientation. Other variations of Pride flags have been created to go under the Pride umbrella because there have been more specific needs to address within the Pride movement as a whole.

The "original" Pride flag, which is the one we see widespread on emojis, merch, and logos was created in 1978 by artist Gilbert Baker. Baker raised the rainbow flag for the first time in San Francisco Pride with no intentions of trademarking it since he believed the flag to be a symbol that belonged to the movement. Originally, the rainbow flag included eight colors but it was later reduced to six for manufacturing reasons. 

The meaning of the colors are: 

Hot Pink: Sex

Red: Life

Orange: Healing

Yellow: Sunlight

Green: Nature

Turquoise: Magic / Art 

Indigo: Serenity

Violet: Spirit

Evolution of the Pride Flag

The Progress Pride Flag evolved from the Philadelphia Pride Flag. Created by artist Daniel Quaser, this flag includes the white, pink, and light blue stripes that represent the Trans community. The black and brown stripes represent communities of color; thinking about how the LGBTQ+ experience is different from a white perspective than from a person of color perspective. Additionally. The black stripe is a nod to the thousands of lives lost to the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s and 1990s.

This iteration of the Pride flag has gained particular popularity and recognition with the need for further advocacy for the trans community and LGBTQ+ communities of color, who are more likely to be denied housing and employment and are 3 to 5 times more vulnerable to a mental health crisis.

Why Pride Matters

The attacks against the LGBTQ+ community prevail. Several books are being banned from schools, libraries, and bookstores.

Due to the backlash that Target faced last year from conservative movements after presenting its Pride collections, Target decided to make this year's Pride collection available only in "selected stores" and online. This speaks about going two steps backward when it comes to being outspoken about LGBTQ+ diversity and illustrating the celebration with colorful Pride collections.

There is a need to defend, protect, and keep standing up for more LGBTQ+ rights and spaces where this community is seen and welcomed.

Clothing plays a pivotal role during Pride month, serving as a vibrant canvas to illustrate the rich tapestry of gender and sexual diversity that this month celebrates. So whenever we go out to the streets with a rainbow flag that can be as small as a lapel pin, or as big and flamboyant as a cape around our body, it is an act of visibility and empowerment, challenging what for many years was forgiven and to this day in many communities around the world remains unallowed. 

Pride Flags are Political Fashion, regardless of sexual orientation or gender. For the LGBTQ+ community and for all our allies, may this flag be a Political Fashion symbol to unite us all on the core values of celebration, acceptance, and advocacy for a bright and fair future. Happy Pride.