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Colour Trend

Colours of the Month: Rainbow Colours

Colours of the month: Rainbow Colours
Simple description: a spectrum of colours


Notes for usage: Traditionally rainbow colours were quite literally inspired by the natural phenomenon of the same name. These light reflections encompass a spectrum between purple, indigo blue, cyan, green, yellow, orange and red nuances. In mythology, rainbows represented hope and peace, for several cultures for millennia. As of the late 1970s, rainbow flags became symbols for LGBTQ+ social movements.

Colours and Meaning

The original multicoloured, striped flag by Gilbert Baker for the Gay Freedom Day Parade of 1978 in San Francisco featured eight colours. The flag´s designer and activist attributed a specific meaning to each of the colours: Hot pink-sex, red-life, orange-healing, yellow-sunlight, green-nature, turquoise-magic/art, indigo-serenity, purple-spirit. Note, pink was already a symbol of what would develop into the LGBTQ+ community previously, despite negative connotations, as a pink triangle was used in concentration camps during the Nazi regime to mark homosexuals.

Versions of the Rainbow Flag Symbol within the LGBTQ+ Community

Various versions of rainbow flags are now globally understood as symbols of LGBTQ+ identity, solidarity and pride. Three main tendencies can be monitored:

  1. The most common version of the rainbow flag nowadays uses only six colours. Red, orange, yellow, green, (indigo) blue and purple were initially chosen for pragmatic reasons – most notably the availability of coloured fabrics for mass production of the flags.
  2. In an attempt to visualise diversity, versions of the rainbow flag have incorporated more and/or different colours (for instance hints at various human skin colours) and combinations with other symbols. Critics warn this can be distracting from the core message of equality of all and the unity of humankind.
  3. As of the late 2010s, more abstract and free variations of the rainbow flag symbol are growing in popularity. This development can be interpreted as a sign for rising awareness, that true inclusivity is open-minded and welcoming for all.

Have you noticed more references of June being Pride Month this year? The celebration of LGBTQ+ Pride Month is not internationally recognised to take place in June, as pride celebrations take place in many different places at different times.

The acronym LGBTQ+ is increasingly interchanged with LGBTQQIA+ meaning lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual people are included. The plus symbol stands for potentially expanding and fully inclusive. What is your opinion on the matter? How important is it in each case to visualise diversity with specific colours or letters? When do you think we will all be ready for full-spectrum humanism?