Smithsonian Sparks

Who designed the transgender flag?

March 29, 2022

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Miniature flag with pale blue, pink and white stripes

Miniature transgender pride flag designed by Monica Helms, Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

Monica Helms designed the first transgender pride flag in 1999 as a symbol of trans diversity and rights. Helms, a trans activist who grew up in Arizona and served in the U.S. Navy, debuted the flag at a Pride parade in Phoenix in 2000.

She used pink and blue stripes to represent colors that have traditionally been associated with girls and boys, with white for people who are intersex, transitioning, or who don’t have a defined gender.

In 2014, Helms donated multiple objects to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, where this flag is part of the collection.

Learn more about the history of the rainbow pride symbol and explore how the museum collects LGBTQ+ history.