By: Zoey L.

When most people think of sexuality, the first thing that often comes to mind is homosexual and heterosexual, but that’s not all there is to it. Sexuality isn’t just limited to being gay or straight, you don’t have to be romantically attracted to your same gender in order to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community because it’s a spectrum of different sexualities that consists of more than just the five letters displayed in the acronym. 


Starting with the first letter of the acronym, someone who identifies as a lesbian is a woman who feels a romantic attraction to another woman. One version of the modern lesbian pride flag features seven hues with symbolic meaning. The dark orange at the top of the flag symbolizes gender nonconformity, while the dark pink at the bottom represents femininity. The color orange represents independence while its lighter hue stands for community. White, pink, and dusty pink make up the pillars of womanhood, serenity and peace, and love. 


The “G” in the five-letter acronym stands for gay and refers to someone who is attracted to the same sex as their own. This can often be used as a blanket term for the community as well. Created in 1978 by Gilbert Baker to be flown at the San Fransisco Gay Freedom Day Parade, the original gay pride flag features the eight colors of pink, red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise blue, purple. These eight colors display the diversity of the community, as the colors stand for sex, life, healing, the sun, nature, art and magic, serenity, and the spirit. Later, Baker’s flag dropped its turquoise and pink stripes to more closely resemble the iconic pride flag we know today.

Bisexual (Bi) 

If someone identifies as bisexual, that means that they feel a romantic and emotional attraction to both men and women, or, two or more genders. Michael Page designed the flag in 1998 in order to increase bisexual visibility in the LGBTQ community. The flag displays a large rectangle of pink at the top, a large rectangle of blue at the bottom, with a thinner rectangle of purple in the middle. The pink in the flag represents same-sex attraction, while the blue represents the attraction to a different sex. The purple in the middle serves as a median between the two, while also serving as a link between the varieties of sexualities in the community since the color purple was a symbol of queerness in the first half of the 20th century.

Transgender (Trans) 

People who are transgender have a gender identity that differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. The transgender flag was designed in 1999 by Monica Helms, who is an openly transgender woman herself and is now held at the Smithsonian National Museum of Art and History as a part of the LGBT collection. The flag first made its debut at a pride parade in Phoenix, Arizona in the year 2000. The flag has five lines, two of which are baby blue, two of which are light pink, and one in the middle that is white. The two outer rectangles of baby blue represent those who are born as boys, while the two inner light pink rectangles stand for those who were born as girls. Holmes says the white line in the middle is for those who are “intersex, transitioning or consider themselves having a neutral or undefined gender”. 

Queer and questioning 

Queer can be used as a blanket term for those in the community since it refers to people whose sexual orientation isn’t exclusively heterosexual. Although many may feel comfortable with the term, some aren’t due to the word originally being used with a derogatory connotation against those in the LGBTQ+ community. 

The “Q” in LGBTQ can also stand for questioning and can be used for someone who isn’t sure what sexuality they identify as, but is presently questioning their sexuality. 

Although it may seem like the LGBTQ+ community only contains five sexualities, there are actually many more that just aren’t included in the acronym. The other sexualities are often represented with the + in the acronym LGBTQ+. 


Pansexuality is the romantic and emotional attraction to an individual regardless of gender. Omnisexuality can sometimes be used interchangeably with the word pansexual since both “omni” and “pan” mean all. While some people might use the two interchangeably, there are still minor differences between the two. For example, people who are omnisexual can be attracted to individuals regardless of gender, gender still might be a factor for them. Created in 2010 and uploaded to the internet by Jasper V, the pansexual flag features hot pink, yellow, and blue. The hot pink represents who are female-identifying regardless of sex, the yellow symbolizes attraction to people who don’t fit in the binary of male or female in terms of sex. This can include people who identify as non-binary, genderqueer, intersex, androgynous, and agender. Lastly, the blue represents the attraction to people who identify as a male regardless of sex.


Polysexuality, often confused with polyamory, is the attraction to many genders. Polysexuality and pansexuality differ because pansexuality is the attraction to any or all genders, whereas polysexuality is the attraction to many genders, in contrast to all of them. For example, someone might be attracted to people who are male or non-binary, but not female. Created by Tomlin, a Tumblr user in 2012, the polysexual flag showcases three colors: pink, blue, and bright green. The stripe of pink represents the attraction to women, the blue represents an attraction to males, and the green represents those who are non-binary. 

Asexual (Ace) 

When someone identifies as asexual, which can often be referred to as “ace”, it means they feel little to no sexual attraction to a person. People who identify with asexuality can also feel a connection to the other relationship-oriented identities listed above. For example, someone could be biromantic and also be asexual. The asexual flag is comprised of four colors: black, gray, white, and purple, and displays the spectrum within the sexuality. The black in the flag stands for asexuality, while the gray stands for the grey area between sexuality and asexuality. The white stripe in the flag represents the asexual allies despite some allies not identifying as asexual, and the purple represents the community. 


Aromantic people experience little to no romantic attraction. When a person lacks romantic attraction, this means that they don’t desire to be in a romantic relationship or go through romantic acts with their partner. Created on November 16, 2014, by Tumblr user Cameron Whimsy, the aromantic flag features two hues of green, black, gray,and white. The first horizontal line which is dark green symbolizes aromanticism, while the complimenting light green represents the aromantic spectrum. The white stripe follows the two green ones and represents friendship or platonic and aesthetic attraction, which is followed by gray and black which highlights the spectrum of sexuality as a whole. Although the flag was created nearly a decade ago, the usage outside of the internet is sparse. The earliest the aromantic flag has been used offline was in the San Francisco Pride Parade in 2017. Other noteworthy appearances of this flag have been in Karlsruhe, Germany in 2019, and in New York City at a Pride parade the same year. 

Despite this large array of sexualities, there is always more to research and learn about to efficiently be an ally and embrace others' differences regardless of their sexuality.

To learn more about terminology related to LGBTQ+ identities, check out: 

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