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While the LGBTQ+ community should be celebrated everyday of the year, the month of June, AKA Pride month, allows for 30 straight days designated to the members of the LGBTQ+ community. As you celebrate this year, however, don't forget about your transgender brothers and sisters. The past year has been hard for the trans community, and it’s important to show support now and always. So before you throw your pink, blue, and white flag high up in the air, read on to hear about the history of the now iconic trans flag and what the colors on it actually mean. The first step to being a better ally is knowing the history behind the community you're supporting.
What is the history of the flag?
Navy veteran and transgender woman, Monica Helms created the Transgender Pride flag in 1999. She told the Daily Beast in 2017 that the idea for the flag just "came to [her]" one morning as she woke up.
"Not a dream," she clarified, calling it more of a "divine intervention." "When you wake up and you’re still sort of groggy and everything but you’re starting to think and your mind is starting to fill with images—that’s when it came to me."
Monica brought the flag with her to the 2000 Phoenix Pride parade, where she flew it for the first time. That original flag was acquired by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in 2014.
How did it gain popularity?
When Monica brought the flag to Phoenix Pride in 2000, many were immediately interested in the design. "This was for me and if nobody had embraced it, it still would have been OK for me. It would have been my flag," she told the Daily Beast. "But then, people started seeing it and they thought the pattern was great and they liked the reason for the colors and it just took off."
Monica continued to take the flag to various parades and events and eventually, the design caught on. "The speed with which the flag’s usage spared never fails to surprise me, and every time I see it, or a photo of it, flying above a historic town hall or building I am filled with pride," she said in her 2019 memoir More Than Just A Flag.
What do the colors mean?
Monica purposefully designed the flag so that, no matter how you hold it, it looks the same. "This symbolizes us trying to find correctness in our own lives," she said, according to Pride.
As for the colors, those have a lot of meaning as well. "The light blue is the traditional color for baby boys, pink is for girls, and the white in the middle is for those who are transitioning, those who feel they have a neutral gender or no gender, and those who are intersexed," Monica explained.
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