In light of the horrific tragedy that took place in Orlando, FL (Pulse Nightclub Shooting) I would like to design a banner for my balcony to show my support of the LGBTQ community. I know the Gay Pride Flag is the standard but think people assume anyone that flies it is gay.

enter image description here

What would be a symbol that shows I am a straight person that supports the LGBTQ community?

One person suggested the Pink Equal signs but I don't know, I associate that more with marriage equality -- I'm looking for something more universal if it exists

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Update for clarification:

This was a message from one of my closest friends about the event:

Thanks. There is a real lack of support from straight men when it comes to attacks on and issues regarding the LGBT community. I'm glad that you remind me that there are men that care.

I'm not looking for a symbol that says "Gay Pride," and I'm certainly not looking for completely alternative actions to take. I'm looking for a symbol that says or can be incorporated into a larger design to say, "I'm straight but I support you." and in doing so I hope it also shows other straight people that its okay to publicize their support as well.

  • I think that the best way is by communicating with words. I am part of the LGBTQ community and haven't really thought of that. I also can't think of a symbol to be honest. I say you come up with something awesome. Cheers for your support! Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 23:33
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    The question seems a little odd to me. If you wish to show support for the gay community, why does it matter to you whether someone you don't know assumes you might be gay?
    – user85627
    Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 8:58
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    @user85627 I already said my reason... I'm asking for a symbol that means X. Why I want it to mean X is beyond the scope of comments and really this website as it has nothing to do with graphic design.
    – Ryan
    Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 12:49
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    @user85627 There might well be certain moments at which someone who is a member of the group would really like to be reminded that other people, who aren't, still care about them. That's what retaining the distinction that 'I am not X and yet I still care' is about. And that's not invalid at all. Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 13:31
  • The reason there's no separate symbol for it is very closely related to the reason someone might ask why you need a separate symbol for it. It's because there are probably no more than a dozen people on the planet who are sympathetic to the cause, and who are interested in supporting it but who are worried that other people might think they are gay (or transgender etc).
    – bye
    Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 14:52

6 Answers 6


There's actually a flag already designed specifically for straight allies: Straight ally flag

The black and white stripes show that you're cisgender and heterosexual, and the rainbow in the "A" shape shows you're an ally.

The real question is whether or not you should use it. As other answers have pointed out, you could easily fly the simple rainbow flag as a symbol of your support. In fact, not caring if someone thinks you're gay or not is probably the best thing you can do to show the LGBTQIA+ community that you really are an ally. It's a small way to speak up and say "I don't care if someone think's I'm gay, because there's nothing wrong with that." If someone asks, just say "oh, no, I'm just an ally."

As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community myself, I find it a little disingenuine when a see an ally who's too concerned about being mistaken for being gay to fly a rainbow flag or wear a rainbow pin. While support is always appreciated, be careful that you're not inadvertently putting down the gay community by getting defensive about stressing you're not a part of it.

Thank you for being an ally in these tough times.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Vincent
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 16:08
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    "I find it a little disingenuine when a see an ally who's too concerned about being mistaken for being gay to fly a rainbow flag or wear a rainbow pin." Bold that! +1
    – Insane
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 21:49
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    Fantastic answer. One point: Having the allies flag does have a specific purpose unrelated to being concerned about being mistaken for LGBTQIA+: Making it clear that it's not just LGBTQIA+ people who support LGBTQIA+ rights. The white people marching in Alabama back in the day forced other white people to confront their perception that it was just blacks who thought "black" civil rights mattered. Cisgender people supporting LGBTQIA+ rights serve the same purpose. Sometimes you can only hear a message from someone you consider to be like yourself. Commented Jun 19, 2016 at 9:08
  • And for an opposing view: there are quite a few people in the LGBTQIA+ community who feel it is disingenuous and a little insulting when cis-het people wear or display the rainbow flag because they feel these people are appropriating a community symbol that doesn't belong to them and which they have no ‘right’ to use. There is no single option that will gain you kudos from the entire community; pick your poison. Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 7:58

I think the rainbow flag / pride flag is still your best bet. I have seen it used by lots of people, LGBTQ and straight/cis alike. Especially during campaigns like proposition 8 for marriage equality, I see lots of straight people fly the rainbow or put a rainbow filter over their avatar pictures.

An easy alternative would be to put some text over the rainbow flag, like this:

enter image description here

There is some precedent for this use, with the rainbow flag functioning as a peace flag, with the word 'peace' written on it.

Then again, my perspective is European. Dutch, to be exact, and the Netherlands are on the tolerant side of the scale when it comes to matters like these. Other cultural perspectives may differ, and prompt a different choice.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Vincent
    Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 16:53

The Human Rights Campaign Logo

HRC Equality Sticker

The Human Rights Campaign is an LGBT activism group based in the US. They use a yellow equals sign against a blue background as their logo which is often displayed to show support for LGBT. They were the organization behind the same-sex marriage logo that you mention. Free "HRC Equality Stickers" are made available to spread support:

Do you believe in an America where you can't get fired just because you are lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender, or where all people can be accepted for who they are regardless of whom they love? Show it, with this FREE equality sticker!

While the symbol is not as widely recognized as the rainbow flag, it has the potential benefit of encouraging people to seek out themselves what it stands for.

  • 1
    The Human Rights Campaign stickers are ubiquitous in the San Francisco Bay Area (I live in Oakland, work in Sunnyvale) and I'd recommend it. Its a good graphic, you can make one yourself and the message is explicit: it's not about me, its about equality for all. "Equal rights; for human beings, are important to me. Starting with Marriage Equality, and including protection against discrimination based on sex, gender, orientation, etc., in the public space."
    – Bill IV
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 3:31

Interesting topic, inclusive as a graphic design issue.

Here are my two cents.

There are several aspects, Imho 3 aspects to the specific case and 3 aside the issue.

What needs to be included.

  • Gay

  • Support

  • No violence

What is not necessary included

  • Gay pride

  • Gay rights

  • I am

Why this is important? Because probably the support in this case of violence is not necessary about other rights.

So here is my aportation. I prepared some options using only the 3 elements above.

This first one uses a commonly used symbol of support, a ribbon.

LGBT support ribbon

The next ones are more limited because the use of text in english. It is more complicated because one hand alone could significate stop Gay, so probably all needs to be included.

In some countries the hexagonal is not that clear, but here are they.

Stop violence symbol Stop violence symbol

I am releasing them under the CC-BY-NC licence. (If it applies because I am using some already public resources.

Right click on the images to download them in high res.

  • 5
    Joined community just to upvote that ribbon. Personally I think that is a great adaptation of the OPs request.
    – gtwebb
    Commented Jun 15, 2016 at 22:05
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    I don't like the hands at all, but upvoted anyway for the ribbon Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 5:18
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    Yeah, the ribbon is really good, and it's going to carry its preexisting connotations, meaning it won't require so much education about its meaning. Nice work on that one! (The hands really don't work for me, but that's just, like, my opinion, man.) Commented Jun 16, 2016 at 13:36
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    @Physics-Compute: why? What is the "original purpose" that you refer to?
    – sumelic
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 23:23
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    stop signs are universally octogons
    – njzk2
    Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 1:31

Initially my thought was the Rainbow Flag stood for each kind of sexuality out there, when in fact it does not.

The rainbow flag was designed by Gilbert Baker, a friend of the gay rights activist Harvey Milk, in 1978. The flag was created a few months before Milk's assassination but became a permanent symbol following Milk's death.

The current flag, has six colors: Red (life), Orange (healing), Yellow (sunlight), Green (nature), Royal Blue (serenity/harmony), and Violet (spirit).

Older versions of the flag have Pink and Turquoise as stripes, but those were removed as flag makers could not find any hot pink dye or fabric at the time to make flags with. Later turquoise was dropped because the yellow strip in the center would blend in too easily with the flag post. So the flag makers decided to stick with six colors. (See http://www.ukgaynews.org.uk/Archive/08/Apr/1801.htm for a complete history.)

In terms of a symbol that straight people can use to stand in solidarity with their LGBT friends, there doesn't seem to be anything official or standard.

Most people assume that it is the Human Rights Campaign Logo, either in Blue and Gold or Red and Pink, but that's not true.

So, the answer is one hasn't been made up yet.

  • The marked correct answer indicates it does in fact exist (though given how few of us knew it I'm not sure I'd call it standard, yet). Nice history lesson though
    – Ryan
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 15:59
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    IDK, I want to stand up for the couple of friends who I know are LGBT, but I think the flag with the black and white stripes is a bit much.
    – JRCharney
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 19:44
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    I agree and don't plan on using it, but it does seem to be the correct answer. Just a really ugly one. I'll probably use something more like Vincent's answer
    – Ryan
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 19:46
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    @Ryan: Yeah, it's nice that there is one, but my goodness it's ugly. I've only seen it a couple of times, maybe design a better one and out-compete it. :-) Commented Jun 19, 2016 at 9:46

One year ago today the Pulse Nightclub tragedy occurred which created Orlando United. It dawned on me while driving home and looking at all the bumper stickers around that this question could probably use the event specific answer.

This is probably the most common symbol that emerged. Sometimes its seen like this in 2 lines and other times the UNITED is next to ORLANDO:

enter image description here

Though the official ones are the following:

enter image description here

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The top is the official event logo and is also found on lots of bumper stickers and shirts.

The bottom one is the fountain in Lake Eola, the main lake in downtown Orlando which has had the fountain since 1912., and an unofficial icon of the city. It is technically the logo for the One United Fund that was created to benefit the victims. I'm not sure that I've ever seen this one appear on apparel and/or bumper stickers. As you'll notice the bottom portion is actually the first image above as a condensed form of this. Perhaps the Fund trademarked this take on the logo.

At least in America, I would say removing the word Orlando and just having a rainbow "UNITED" would be the best answer to this question. Or replacing ORLANDO with your own city.

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