What is a Welcoming Sign?
The term "welcoming" is used to denote support of diversity for all persons. A "welcoming sign" is a visible symbol that signifies this welcoming perspective. Several symbols have been used to denote welcoming perspectives toward LGBTQ communities and are detailed below.
Brief History of LGBTQ Symbols
There are many symbols that have been used by LGBTQ populations which are also sometimes used as welcoming or supportive markers for businesses and groups.
Rainbow Flag, Pride Flag, LGBTQ Pride Flag, or Gay Pride Flag
In 1978, Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow flag for San Francisco's Gay Freedom Celebration. The original flag consisted of eight stripes: pink for sexuality, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for the sun, green for nature, blue for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for spirit. Since then, the design has undergone several revisions but the most common variant consists of six stripes, with the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. The rainbow flag has been adapted by Greg Gomes of Gay Flags of the World to represent U.S. states and countries around the world. The colors reflect the diversity of the LGBTQ community.
The rainbow flag is the most recognizable symbol of LGBTQ rights and LGBTQ pride and is used as a welcoming and supportive symbol toward the LGBTQ community worldwide.
In the 1940s, Hitler forced all prisoners in the Nazi concentration camps to wear a colored inverted triangle to indicate their reason for incarceration. The pink triangle was designated for gays. In the 1970s, gay liberation groups reclaimed the pink triangle as made it a popular symbol for the lesbian and gay rights movement.
Originally chosen by the Gay Activists Alliance of New York in 1970, the lambda became a popular symbol of the gay community throughout the 1970s because the lambda could operate as a covert sign that would represent support of the gay community but could easily be mistaken for a college fraternity symbol and ignored by the majority of the population. It is still a popular symbol today.
Bisexual Pride Flag
In 1998, Michael Page designed the first flag to represent the bisexual community. The flag consists of a broad magenta stripe at the top, representing same-gender attraction; a broad stripe in blue at the bottom, representing opposite-gender attraction; and a narrower deep lavender band occupying the central fifth, which represents attraction towards both genders.
Transgender Pride Flag
Created by Monica Helms in 1999, the transgender pride flag represents the transgender community and consists of five horizontal stripes. 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, confirming transgendered identities.
There are many more LGBTQ pride symbols out there, share yours with us!