Where does come from?
Did you know that the rainbow flag has only existed as a symbol of the LGBTQ community since 1978? That’s when San Francisco politician and iconic gay rights activist Harvey Milk commissioned Gilbert Baker, a drag queen and US military veteran, to create a new flag to represent the LGBTQ community.
The previous flag featured a pink triangle that Nazis used as badges to mark gay people—powerful but dark. Baker designed the rainbow initially with eight colors, later narrowed down to six for practicality. The History Channel provides a helpful explanation for the symbolism:
“The different colors within the flag were meant to represent togetherness, since LGBT people come in all races, ages and genders, and rainbows are both natural and beautiful. The original flag featured eight colors, each having a different meaning. At the top was hot pink, which represented sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow signifying sunlight, green for nature, turquoise to represent art, indigo for harmony, and finally violet at the bottom for spirit.”
The rainbow flag took emoji form as part of Emoji 4.0 in 2016, sequenced together from the white flag 🏳 and rainbow 🌈 emoji, which is how the emoji will display on older platforms. Also called the pride flag emoji, the rainbow flag emoji shows a waving rainbow flag on most platforms, though Microsoft and EmojiOne show it on a pole.
don’t be afraid to be yourself 🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/BQkKkOiR08
— ❁ (@gardenactive) June 8, 2018
Unicode updates in 2016 also introduced various same-sex couple emoji, such as two women holding hands👭, further expanding the emoji palette for the LGBTQ community.
Who uses ?
The rainbow flag emoji is a favorite among the online LGBTQ community. Users often add it to their usernames on social-media platforms to identify themselves as a LGBTQ.
A Smile 😊 And A Happy ❤ Will Burn A Hole IN A Miserable Bitch Soul 😏💯
— Killaa 🏳️🌈🤘🏽 (@DaKiddNassy) June 8, 2018
Usage of the rainbow flag emoji picks up every June, honored as Gay Pride Month. From everyday users celebrating their sexuality to brands showing their support for the LGBTQ community, social media gets more colorful for a month out of the year.
— miryam misses harry -36 (@harrysonrie) June 6, 2018
It’s also common to see the rainbow flag emoji accompanying news about LGBTQ rights and activism for the LGBTQ community in general.
Trump has failed to acknowledge that June is LGBT pride month. Are we really surprised though? 🏳️🌈 @realDonaldTrump we aren’t going anywhere 😂
— Michael Hill (@MichaelHill0528) June 4, 2018