This page is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website

Gay Pride/Rainbow Flag - Variations with order and number of stripes

Sexual Orientation Flags

Last modified: 2020-07-11 by randy young
Keywords: rainbow flag | stripes: 6 | smiley | labrys | earth | map: earth | hat: cowboy | aids | pirate | crossed bones | heart (black) | aids | matlovich (leonard) |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors



On this page: See also:

Five-striped variations

[Rainbow with 5 stripes]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 26 June 2015

At least one of the flags seen in Mumbai, India, on 16 August 2009 did replace red and orange stripes with a single orange-red stripe, while keeping the unusual order of other colors, as shown here. The reason for this is unclear, since the usual six-striped rainbow flag is not unknown in India, as some of the above sources reveal.
Tomislav Todorović, 26 June 2015

[Rainbow with 5 stripes]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 25 August 2018

Another variant with five stripes omits the violet stripe, while the order of others remains unchanged, with blue (lighter than usual) at the top and red at the bottom. This flag was used at the 6th Kerala Queer Pride, which took place at Thiruvananthapuram on 11 July 2015. The photo of this flag can be found here. Another photo, which gives only an incomplete view, can be found here.
Tomislav Todorović, 25 August 2018

[Rainbow with 5 vertical stripes]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 23 August 2019

A version with five stripes arranged vertically was used in Australia, at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, on 7 March 2015: https://www.shutterstock.com/editorial/image-editorial/sydney-gay-and-lesbian-mardi-gras-parade-australia-07-mar-2015-4510138c. There, the orange stripe was omitted, while the other colors remained in unchanged order, with purple at the hoist and red at the fly. Most of colors were in rather dark shades, yellow and red being particularly conspicuous in that regard.
Tomislav Todorović, 23 August 2019

Six-striped variations

[Rainbow flag with unordered stripes]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 5 October 2014

Gay Pride flags sometimes have the rainbow colors in "unordered" pattern - that is, not following the order in which they naturally appear within the rainbow. One of the best known examples is from the Madrid Pride 2008. The pattern (top-down) is: blue, violet, red, orange, yellow, green. This photo has been much reproduced on the Web, like here. It is worth noting that it also shows an ordinary rainbow flag, hoisted on a building in background - indeed, most rainbow flags used at the event were such, as revealed by the selection of photos from Wikimedia .
Tomislav Todorović, 5 October 2014

This flag employs the pattern (top-down) of: blue, violet, red, orange, yellow, green, and was used at the Madrid Pride 2008. The flag with the same pattern was used again in Valencia in 2015. It was hoisted from the Valencia City Hall on 25 June 2015, the day before the Pride Day. The photo, available here: http://epoca1.valenciaplaza.com/ver/159455/una-gran-bandera-gay-presidira-el-ayuntamiento-de-valencia-por-el-dia-del-orgullo-2015.html, suggest that the color order may have been reversed (i.e. green at the top), but it is difficult to tell, considering the vertical hoisting without the flagstaff.
Tomislav Todorović, 17 March 2020

[Rainbow flag with unordered stripes]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 5 October 2014

Flags with a different color pattern were used at the Madrid Pride / Europride 2007. They differed from the ordinary rainbow flags only in the positions of blue and violet colors, which were swapped here. It is difficult to say which side was meant to be up - note the wall decoration on the house in the right-hand part of the photo, with violet/purple at the top - but since the flags with red at the top prevail, it may be assumed that the case was the same here. The same flag, with red at the top, was used in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, at the Gay Pride Parade in 2010 (image). Although the color shades seem to differ here, especially those of violet and blue, which look more like indigo and turquoise, respectively, the pattern is clearly the same.
Tomislav Todorović, 5 October 2014

[Rainbow flag with unordered stripes]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 5 October 2014

A much more "unordered" pattern than the previous two was seen at a photo from Mexico City (link broken). There, the pattern (top-down) was: blue, violet, orange, yellow, red, green.
Tomislav Todorović, 5 October 2014

[Rainbow flag with unordered stripes]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 5 October 2014

The flags with "unordered" pattern are actually not new: they were used in the USA in early 1990's, as revealed by this photo from San Diego, California, which was taken in 1992 or 1993. Here, along with an ordinary rainbow flag with red at the top, a flag is shown with the following pattern: green, blue, violet, red, orange, yellow. The color shades look rather dark, partly perhaps due to the picture taking conditions, and partly perhaps due to the preservation condition of the original photo which, having been created in early 1990's, was almost certainly scanned before posting to the Web, but the use of darker color shades seems not to be unknown in the USA.
Tomislav Todorović, 5 October 2014

[Rainbow unordered stripes]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 26 June 2015

Another variant, which also displays a significant variation of color shades, was seen in Mumbai, India, on 16 August 2009. Its photos, which can be found here, here, here, and here, reveal that blue and violet are replaced with dark blue (slightly inclining towards indigo) and light blue, respectively. Red is also almost indistinguishable from orange - usually, it is the combined size of two stripes, being twice as big as that of any other color, that reveals that two colors are meant to be there.
Tomislav Todorović, 26 June 2015

[Rainbow unordered stripes]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 1 July 2015

Another six-striped flag was seen in New Delhi on 2009-07-02. The color pattern was: red, orange, yellow, pink (instead of violet or purple), blue and green. Red, orange and yellow were darker and blue and green were lighter than on most rainbow flags.
Tomislav Todorović, 1 July 2015

[Rainbow unordered stripes]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 29 March 2016

Another six-striped variant is shown on a photo used by the Left Block, political party from Portugal in their campaign for legalization of same-sex marriages. That photo can be found here. The color pattern is: blue, violet, green, yellow, orange, red.
Tomislav Todorović, 29 March 2016

The flag which employs the pattern (top-down) of: blue, violet, green, yellow, orange, red, is presented in the image above. The same pattern was seen in Milan, Italy, on 29 June 2019, the photo being available here. On that flag, blue, violet and orange were much lighter than on most of rainbow flags, including the previous appearance of the same pattern, while yellow was visibly darker than usual.
Tomislav Todorović, 10 May 2020

[Rainbow unordered stripes] [Rainbow unordered stripes]
images by Tomislav Todorović, 25 August 2018

The flag with with swapped places of yellow and green was used at 6th Kerala Queer Pride, which took place at Thiruvananthapuram on 11 July 2015; beside the flags, the pattern was also used for decorations on the wall posters1. At 7th Kerala Queer Pride, which took place at Kozhikode (Calicut) on 12 August 2016, the flag was widely used2,3,4,5,6,7; there are also examples of bandanas, turbans or shawls with this pattern, as often happens with the designs of political flags in India2. Curiously, it seems to have been much less used at 8th Kerala Queer Pride, which took place in Kochi (Cochin) on 12 August 2017; still there were some participants who carried it, mainly in the shawl-like manner8.

The flags with this pattern were almost always used with red at the top; still there are some examples of its use with violet at the top, from the 7th Kerala Queer Pride5.
Tomislav Todorović, 25 August 2018
Sources:
1: Queerala organization at Facebook - Photo album from 6th Kerala Queer Pride
2: Wikimedia Commons - Photos from 7th Kerala Queer Pride
3: Queerala organization at Facebook - Photo album #1 from 7th Kerala Queer Pride
4: Queerala organization at Facebook - Photo album #2 from 7th Kerala Queer Pride
5: The Times of India newspaper website - Photo gallery from 7th Kerala Queer Pride
6: Deccan Chornicle newspaper website
7: Asia Experts Forum website
8: Queerala organization at Facebook - Photo album from 8th Kerala Queer Pride


Somebody accidentally hoisted it upside-down?
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 7 September 2018

That's the question which might be asked about any - literally, any - rainbow flag, regardless of number, order or even colors of stripes. And as with all of the other variants, it is impossible to answer. Probably, it wasn't much important to the flag bearer, either.
Tomislav Todorović, 7 September 2018

Sure, but if most specimen of a flag are hoisted one way and only rarely is a specimen seen that's hoisted the other way, the hypothesis seems unavoidable that it's upside down. This is even more so with rainbow flags that are seen, unlike a rainbow, with the red at the bottom. I was merely asking whether there was anything to support or refute the hypothesis.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 14 September 2018

There was no evidence for either. However, bearing in mind that there is no "right side up" for the "default" rainbow flag, as well as for the 7-striped and 8-striped versions, the same is probably even more true for "unordered" versions, including this one, which depart from the natural rainbow pattern even further. Still, they all conform to what Gilbert Baker himself said: "The idea of the rainbow is what counts."
Tomislav Todorović, 15 September 2018

[Rainbow unordered stripes]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 20 June 2020

A flag which was seen in São Paulo, Brazil, on 26 June 2019, has had a highly unordered pattern: purple, blue, orange, green, red and yellow. It is not clear which side is up, because the flag is held by a person in their hands; here, purple is shown at the top, only because that corner of the flag was held by the hand closer to the observer/photographer.
Tomislav Todorović, 20 June 2020
Source: The Press Democrat website: https://www.pressdemocrat.com/lifestyle/celebrations/9758995-181/celebrating-lgbtq-pride-month-around?sba=AAS&artslide=82
(NOTE: due to some unclear bug, the above address will not always lead directly to the "Slide 83 of 96", but it can always be reached by clicking the arrow buttons as many times as necessary; when that is completed, the said address is displayed.)


Seven-striped variations

[Rainbow flag with unordered stripes]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 5 October 2014

Not only the six-colored, but also the seven-colored gay rainbow flags may have the "unordered" patterns. One such flag was hoisted at the building of Extremadura regional government, in the city of Badajoz, Spain, in June 2014, just before the International LGBT Pride Day, as reported here and here. On this flag, violet and blue have had the places swapped and turquoise was more like the sky blue. Having had seven stripes, just like the Inca flag, the flag was mistaken for it in the news reports, but when compared with the six-colored flag, it was compared with an "unordered" variant. However, the use of seven-colored gay rainbow flags is not unknown to Spain, as they were used at the Madrid Pride / Europride 2007 and this "unordered" flag is clearly another one, not an Inca flag.
Tomislav Todorović, 5 October 2014

[Rainbow flag with unordered stripes]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 5 October 2014

An earlier example of the use of such flags is from the Taiwan Pride 2005. There, the pattern was: blue, turquoise, violet, green, yellow, orange, red. This is the same pattern as one of the most common variants of Italian peace flag but this flag's transparency in the photo reveals that there seems to be no inscription, so it is clearly another gay rainbow flag.
Tomislav Todorović, 5 October 2014

In the same year (2005), the same pattern was seen in Paris, at the Gay Pride 2005: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Association_conatct_gay_pride_2005.JPG. As the flags were hung vertically, it is difficult to say which side was meant to be at the top. Regardless of that, the pattern was clearly the same, and the shades seem to have been the same as well, or differed very little.
Tomislav Todorovć, 30 January 2020

[Rainbow flag with unordered stripes]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 1 July 2015

Another seven striped variant, with purple at the top and swapped places of dark and light blue (instead of indigo and turquoise) was seen in Chennai, India, at the Chennai Rainbow Pride 2012, as shown here, and again at the rally held for the International Day against Homophobia/Transphobia. Photo from the event can be seen here (image).
Tomislav Todorović, 1 July 2015

The flag was used again at the Chennai Rainbow Pride 2015. The photos are available here: https://photos.orinam.net/post/122959598132/chennai-pride-2015-27-june-2015-photo-courtesy (image 1: https://66.media.tumblr.com/c75c9f1bd29f9dfae4849e9bf674792a/tumblr_nqtn3kzkwv1tpcg6lo2_400.jpg and image 2: https://66.media.tumblr.com/2e9f4340c5a02e9e1e2209a0a0bfddb8/tumblr_nqtn3kzkwv1tpcg6lo9_640.jpg).
Tomislav Todorović, 16 June 2020

[Rainbow flag with unordered stripes]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 1 July 2015

Some variants of "unordered" seven-striped flags replace indigo and turquoise stripes with a single blue stripe, while a pink stripe is added between yellow and green. Such flags, with red at the top, were used at Chennai Rainbow Pride 2011, as shown here, and again at Chennai Rainbow Pride 2012, with the photos available here and here, and Chennai Rainbow Pride 2013, as shown here.
Tomislav Todorović, 1 July 2015

[Rainbow flag with unordered stripes]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 1 July 2015

Flags with the reversed color order (purple at the top) were used at Chennai Rainbow Pride 2014, with the photos available here and here.
Tomislav Todorović, 1 July 2015

[Rainbow flag with unordered stripes]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 30 August 2015

Another seven-striped variant with pink and single blue stripes was seen at the annual Gay Pride in Entebbe, Uganda on 2015-08-08, as seen here, here and here. The color pattern was: red, orange, pink, green, yellow, blue, purple. While red and pink were rather dark, more than typically used, blue was very light - unusually light for the gay pride flags.
Tomislav Todorović, 30 August 2015

[Rainbow flag with unordered stripes]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 25 August 2018

A variant with swapped places of green and turquoise stripes was used at the 38th Mexico City LGBTTTI Pride March (XXXVIII Marcha del Orgullo LGBTTTI de la Ciudad de México), which took place on 25 June 2016 (date not mentioned by the source, but detected from the file names of presented photos) (photo: https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-uyJ4WpDybQA/V3BkpZ7G2iI/AAAAAAAC-Pw/6pvuxxFwb143O0SwuGAnY-LseD1-4EKXwCLcB/s1600/25-06-2016%2B-%2BMexico%2B-%2BMexico%2BCity%2B-%2BMexico%2BCity%2BPride%2B2016%2B%2528edited%2Bphotos%2529%2B8.JPG) On this flag, yellow, green and even turquoise looked lighter than usual, red, orange and indigo seem to have had their usual shades, while violet was dark enough to be described as purple.
Tomislav Todorović, 25 August 2018

[Rainbow flag with unordered stripes]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 20 June 2020

The variant with violet moved to the opposite edge, next to red, all other colors keeping their usual order, was seen at Leeds Pride 2010.[1] While the photo does not reveal which side of the flag is up, the one from San Francisco, taken before the City Hall on 26 June 2015, clearly shows indigo at the top and violet at the bottom;[2] that particular flag copy may have been bearing some additional charges, part of which was in indigo. The same pattern was seen again at Pride London 2017; again, it is not possible to tell which side was up, for both available photos show the flag used as a canopy, first attached to an open car [3] and just standing in the open the other time.[4] Both photos were taken on the same date, at the same place, so it is possible that they display the same copy of the flag, although there are not enough elements to tell it with certainty. In fact, it is possible that the 2010 flag from Leeds was also used as a sort of canopy, although it is not visible enough to prove that.[1]
Tomislav Todorović, 20 June 2020
Sources:
[1] — Flickr - Photo from Leeds Pride, on 1 August 2010: https://www.flickr.com/photos/22179048@N05/4849931064/
[2] — SFGATE website: https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Rainbow-flag-turns-40-Gilbert-Baker-pride-parade-13015011.php#photo-8251930 (NOTE: due to some unclear bug, the above address will not always lead directly to the "Image 23 of 38", but it can always be reached by clicking the arrow buttons as many times as necessary; when that is completed, the said address is displayed.)
[3] — Flickr - Photo from Pride London, on 8 July 2017: https://www.flickr.com/photos/waterford_man/35138582614/
[4] — Flickr - Photo from Pride London, on 8 July 2017: https://www.flickr.com/photos/waterford_man/35146426193/


Eight-striped variations

[Rainbow flag with unordered stripes]
image by Tomislav Todorović, 25 August 2018

Flags with eight stripes, arranged in a pattern different form than that introduced by Gilbert Baker, were used in June 2018 at the Mexico City Pride. Photos from the event are available here and here.

The change was in the position of pink stripe, which was moved to the bottom, beneath violet, red becoming the top one. Pink color was also in a darker shade - inclining towards magenta - while turquoise looked more like the sky blue. Most of other colors also varied somewhat, especially green, which was often rather dark, but could sometimes be very light, too.
Tomislav Todorović, 25 August 2018