The History of the Lipstick Lesbian Flag & What It *Briefly* Represents

Related image
The Lipstick Lesbian Flag

A lipstick lesbian is a lesbian whose gender expression is typically more feminine, so for example, wearing makeup (thus the term ‘lipstick lesbian’), wearing dresses or having characteristics commonly associated with feminine women. However, in popular use, lipstick lesbian is also used as a way to define feminine gender expression of bisexual identifying people. a 

The term ‘lipstick lesbian‘ was originally used in San Francisco in the 1980s. In 1982, Priscilla Rhoades, a journalist with the gay newspaper ‘The Sentinel‘, wrote an article on ‘Lesbians for Lipstick.’ Then 1990,  the gay newspaper OutWeek covered the ‘Lesbian Ladies Society,  an organization based in Washington D.C, based social-group for feminine lesbians, required lesbians to wear feminine things (e.g. skirts/dresses/make-up) for it to function, but the term is thought to have originated in the early 1990s.  

Besides, a 1997 episode of the television show Ellen popularized the term. In the episode, Ellen DeGeneres’s character was asked by her parents whether a certain woman is a ‘dipstick lesbian‘, explains that the term is actually ‘lipstick lesbian.’ 

Some authors have commented that the term lipstick lesbian is also used to describe feminine bisexual or heterosexual individuals who have shown romantic interest towards the same gender. For example, Jodie Brian, in the 2009 Encyclopedia of Gender and Society, Volume 1, states, “A common depiction of lipstick lesbianism includes conventionally attractive and sexually insatiable women who desire one another but only insofar as their desire is a performance for male onlookers or a precursor to sex with men.” Here, she is reinforcing the idea that lipstick lesbians dress in a feminine manner; in addition, in, ‘Intersectionality, Sexuality and Psychological Therapies,’ a lipstick lesbian is defined as, ‘a lesbian/bisexual woman who exhibits ‘feminine’ attributes such as wearing makeup, dresses and high heeled shoes.’

In terms of color scheme, the lipstick lesbian flag has different shades of pink, which have connotations of femininity; besides, the lipstick represents the traditional act of putting of make-up. 

The History of the LGBTQ+ Flag, Gilbert Baker, & What It Represents

Image result for lgbtq flags
The LGBTQ+ Flag

The rainbow flag, also known as the gay pride flag or LGBTQIA+ flag (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual etc.) is the main flag for the LGBTQ+ community. The colours of the flag represent the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community, and it is also used as the gay pride flag during Pride marches. 

The flag was originally designed by the San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker, and the design of the flag has undergone several redesigns since its debut in 1978. The most common variant consists of six stripes: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet, and flies horizontally, with red typically being to at the top of the flag, to reflect a natural rainbow. In more recent years, black and brown was added onto the flag in 2017 to represent LGBTQ+ people of colour.

Gilbert Baker was an openly gay activist who was born in  1951, and grew up in Parsons, Kansas, and went on to serve in the US army for about two years. After being honorably discharged from the army, he taught himself to sew, and in 1974, Baker met Harvey Milk, arguably the most famous LGBTQ+ activist at the time. Milk challenged Baker to design a pride flag for the community, and the original pride flag flew at San Francisco’s Gay Freedom Day Parade on the 25th of June 1978.

Additionally, it has been suggested that the flag was inspired by the song “Over the Rainbow“, which was sung by Judy Garland, one of the 1st female gay icons, and the Stonewall riots that happened after her death. Another suggestion of how the rainbow flag came to be was at college campuses during the 1960s, where some people were demonstrating for world peace, by carrying a “Flag of the Races” (or the “Flag of the Human Race”). The 1st design of the rainbow flag was commissioned by the fledgling pride committee, and was produced by a team which was led by Baker himself, and included the artist Lynn Segerblom, who was also known as, “Faerie Argyle Rainbow.” Lynn also created the original dying process of the flag, and Baker is said to have drawn inspiration for the flag from The Flag of the Human Race, as well as the Hippie movement of the time. He was also influenced by the gay activist Allen Ginsberg. 

The colors of the rainbow flag are as follows, and what they represent, according to Baker: 

  • Black & Brown: represents LGBTQ+ people of colour. 
  • Hot Pink: which represent sex.
  • Red: which represent life.
  • Orange: which represents healing. 
  • Yellow (my favourite colour): which represents sunlight, as yellow has connotations of the sun. 
  • Green: which represents nature, as green has connotations of grass, which is grows out the earth. 
  • Turquoise: which represents art & magic
  • Indigo: which represents serenity.
  • Violet: which represents the spirit. 
The Progressive Flag 

In addition, in 2018, a designer began a campaign to “re-boot” the Pride flag to make it more inclusive for LGBTQ+ people of colour. They did this by adding a five colour chevron to better represent LGBTQ+ people of colour, as well as the trans community.

The designer of the reboot is Daniel Quasar, who identifies as queer and non-binary. They rebooted the original rainbow flag, stating that it would, ““all aspects of our community.”

The *Brief* History of the Non-Binary Flag & What It Represents

Image result for nonbinary flag
The non-binary Flag

Nonbinary is an umbrella term, or specific identity meaning that one doesn’t identify with the gender binary (male & female) and cisnormativity. The flag was created by 17-year old Kye Rowan during February 2014, and this was due to a call from several members of their community that felt that the term genderqueer didn’t fit represent them, and wanted a flag that represented them in the correct way.

The flag itself consists of 4 striped colors (top to bottom)- yellow, white, purple and black. The colors represent the following:

-Yellow: Those whose gender exists outside the binary, as yellow is often used to represent something as its own.

-White: Represents those who are multigender (meaning they identify with multiple and/or all genders), as white can also represent the presence of color and/or light.

-Purple: Represents those who feel as though their gender is a mix of female and male, as purple is a mix of traditional boy and girl colors. Purple could also represent the fluidity & uniqueness of Non-binary individuals.

-Black: Represents those who feel as though they lack gender and/or feel as though they have no gender (agender), as black is the absence of color and/or light. 

Alternative non-binary Pride Flag 

Non-binary people may also identify as transgender. The label genderqueer has a lot of overlap between non-binary, but this is seen as the preferred term, because the term  “queer” may be used as a transphobic insult. They also may wish to transition so that their gender expression more accurately reflects their gender identity (and bear in mind, gender identity doesn’t necessarily equal gender expression, and vice versa). 

In addition, many non-binary people choose to appear androgynous and use gender-neutral names, and titles (such as Mx.) and/or gender-neutral pronouns – however, others choose to express themselves in a way that is traditionally more masculine or feminine or to mix aspects of the two. Furthermore, non – binary people can have any sexual or romantic orientation, but if they are attracted primarily to a single-gender they may prefer to use terms such as androsexual or gynosexual.


The History Of The Bisexual Flag & What It Represents

Image result for bisexual flag
The Bisexual Flag

The Bisexual flag, designed in 1988 by Michael Page, aimed to give bisexual individuals & community more visibility, both in society and in the LGBTQ+ community- this is due to the biphobia (the irrational fear of bisexuals) bisexuals face both in society and unfortunately, in their own community. But biphobia is another post for another day.

When creating the bisexual flag we know today, Page took the colors from an already existing symbol and stated, “In designing the Bi Pride Flag, I selected the colors and overlap pattern of the ‘bi angles’ symbol.” This simply means that Page was putting his own spin on the bisexual symbol- however, the biangles (or “bisexuality triangles”) origins are unclear.


Biangles (or “Bisexual Triangles”)

Another symbol for bisexuality, the crescent moon, avoids the Nazi movement’s pink triangle used to dehumanize homosexuals during World War 2. Again, that’s another post for another day. 

In terms of meaning, Page describes the meaning of the color scheme behind the flag- a dark pink, lavender, and a dark blue (and for a bit of extra knowledge, the ratio for the flag is 2:1:2) as follows, “The pink color represents sexual attraction to the same sex only (gay and lesbian). The blue represents sexual attraction to the opposite sex only (straight) and the resultant overlap color purple represents sexual attraction to both sexes (bi).” – however, this isn’t how I would define my bisexuality, as I like to define it as “sexual attraction to my gender & other genders” (aren’t labels cool like that?!) 

Image result for bisexual crescent moon
Bisexual Crescent Moon

In addition, Page delves deeper into the flags meaning, adding, “The key to understanding the symbolism of the Bisexual pride flag is to know that the purple pixels of color blend unnoticeably into both the pink and blue, just as in the ‘real world,’ where bi people blend unnoticeably into both the gay/lesbian and straight communities.”[3]