How to Make Pride Flag Cookies This Pride Month
From the colors to the symbolism behind each, here's everything you need to know about some LGBTQ+ flags.
Which one of these flag cookies represents LGBTQ+ Pride Month? The correct answer is all of them! The original rainbow flag, designed by late artist-activist Gilbert Baker, debuted in 1978 — nine years after the Stonewall Riots — and has evolved into a powerful symbol of LGBTQ+ pride. But over the decades, more flags have been introduced to even further champion individuality. “The reality is how big, broad and diverse our LGBTQ+ community is,” says Ross Murray, Senior Director of Education and Training at the GLAAD Media Institute. “Each one of these groups falls under the LGBTQ+ umbrella and is really distinct in its own way.” Various designs (like the ones below, and more) now fly high during Pride Month and beyond. Keep reading to see the symbolism behind each one, and decorate a big batch to show your pride!
Rainbow Pride Flag: The original rainbow flag was created by late artist-activist Gilbert Baker in 1978. It featured eight colored stripes: pink, red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, blue and purple. According to the Gilbert Baker Foundation’s website, each color was meant to represent the following:
- Pink: Sex
- Red: Life
- Orange: Healing
- Yellow: Sunlight
- Green: Nature
- Turquoise: Magic
- Blue: Serenity
- Purple: Spirit
The rainbow pride flag has undergone several changes since its creation; some of these changes were due to the lack of colored fabrics and materials after the original flag’s conception. Today a six-stripe version of the rainbow flag is the one most often seen and used; it consists of the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.
Bisexual Flag: The bisexual flag was created in 1998 by Michael Page. According to Belle Haggett Silverman, President of the Bisexual Resource Center, the bisexual flag is “a really special indicator of inclusion.” She adds, “Bisexual+ people (whether they identify as bi, queer, pansexual, or many other meaningful labels) are often erased or antagonized in LGBTQ+ spaces as well as in mainstream culture. To find a place that is intentionally welcoming to bisexual+ people can be really rare, and seeing our flag included in a celebration of queer identity can be a deeply meaningful experience of connection and affirmation.”
The bisexual flag is made up of three different colors: pink, purple and blue. Each color is commonly interpreted to mean the following:
- Pink: Attraction to women
- Purple: Attraction to everyone else
- Blue: Attraction to men
In the original version, each colored stripe varied in size, though that flag is less common these days. Today many bi+ flags are made up of three equal sized bars.
Lesbian Flag: Several iterations of the lesbian flag exist today, including the Labrys lesbian flag, which was created in 1999 by Sean Campbell; the lipstick lesbian flag, which was introduced in 2010 on a weblog; the seven-stripe pink lesbian flag; the seven-stripe orange-pink lesbian flag, designed by Emily Gwen in 2018; and the five-stripe lesbian flag, depicted above.
According to Emily Gwen’s website, the colors used to make up the seven-stripe lesbian flag mean the following:
- Dark Orange: Gender Nonconformity
- Orange: Independence
- Light Orange: Community
- White: Unique Relationships to Womanhood
- Pink: Serenity and Peace
- Dusty Pink: Love and Sex
- Dark Pink: Femininity
Asexual Flag: The asexual flag first appeared in August 2010 after AVEN, the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, held a global flag design contest on their forum board. The winning version was democratically voted upon and depicts four colors: black, grey, white and purple. According to Neth Dugan, who was involved in the flag’s creation, each color means the following:
- Black: Asexuality
- Grey: Demisexuals and Grey-Asexuals (or individuals who are generally considered to be under the asexual umbrella, but sit some place between asexual and allosexual)
- White: Allosexuals (or individuals who experience sexual attraction)
- Purple: Community
According to Dugan, the flag is important for those within the asexual community because "for many of us it means community. It means visibility. It means not being alone. It means being seen and recognized and valued. Visibility is such a key part of asexual activism as so many of us went through a lot before we found out we weren’t alone. Before we had the language to describe our feelings and what we need or don’t want and why. And this flag helps with that. And when we set out to design a flag, the biggest aim was to have a symbol that was ours and ours alone and could be adaptable. I think it’s exceeded that.”
Nonbinary Flag: The nonbinary flag was designed by Kyle Rowan in 2014. It consists of four different colors: yellow, white, purple and black. Each color has a different meaning:
- Yellow: Individuals whose gender exists outside of the binary
- White: Individuals with many or all genders
- Purple: Individuals with genders considered a mix of male and female
- Black: Individuals who identify as not having a gender
Transgender Flag: The transgender flag was created in 1999 by Monica Helms, a transgender woman. According to Helms, the flag is symmetrical so that "no matter which way you fly it, it is always correct, signifying us finding correctness in our lives." The flag is made up of three different colors:
- Light Blue: Represents the traditional color for baby boys
- Light Pink: Represents the traditional color for baby girls
- White: Represents those who are intersex, transitioning or a neutral or undefined gender
Intersex Flag: The intersex flag was created by Morgan Carpenter in 2013. Morgan now serves as the Executive Director of Intersex Austrilia, formerly known as Oll Austrilia, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting human rights, health and bodily autonomy to those within the intersex community. According to the Intersex Austrilia website, the flag “consists of a golden yellow field, with a purple circle emblem. The colours and circle don’t just avoid referencing gender stereotypes, like the colours pink and blue, they seek to completely avoid use of symbols that have anything to do with gender at all. Instead the circle is unbroken and unornamented, symbolising wholeness and completeness, and our potentialities. We are still fighting for bodily autonomy and genital integrity, and this symbolises the right to be who and how we want to be.”
Progress Pride Flag: The progress pride flag was created by Daniel Quasar in 2018. It features the colors of the six-stripe rainbow pride flag with a chevron made up of the white, pink, light blue, black and brown stripes. According to Quasar's website, the colors used within the chevron represent the following:
- Light Blue, Pink and White: Transgender individuals
- Brown and Black: People of Color and marginalized LGBTQ+ communities
- Black: Those living with AIDS and the stigmas/prejudices surrounding them, as well as those that have been lost to the disease
The chevron also points to the right to "signify movement forward." It's being on the left edge of the flag is also meant to represent "that process still needs to be made."
Ross Murray from GLADD adds, "The Progress Pride Flag highlights some of the most marginalized members within the LGBTQ community and gave them a visual representation in the pride flag...The inclusion of the transgender colors and black and brown stripes is acknowledgement of both the leadership and the marginalization of both communities within LGBTQ history."
To learn more about how to support the LGBTQ+ community year-round, visit glaad.org.
Cookie photograph by Mike Garten for Food Network Magazine.
Cookie styling by Christine Albano for Food Network Magazine.
Introduction text written by Cory Fernandez for Food Network Magazine.
Additional research by Michelle Baricevic for FoodNetwork.com.