Being intersex refers to people whose bodies don’t fall within the typical male/female binary. This means the person was born with sex characteristics such as chromosome patterns or genitals that don’t fit the box of either “female” or “male.” Because of this doctors often assign babies a legal sex which often causes issues in the future, because the assigned gender might not align with the gender identity that person grows to identify with. Waving an intersex flag means that you might be a part of or support the intersex community.
If you think you might identify with being intersex or want to learn more about this community, read on.
The intersex flag today
The intersex pride flag was created by Morgan Carpenter of Intersex Human Rights Australia in 2013. The flag has been seen in various human rights events and protests that help fight for the rights of intersex individuals. The creation of this flag was very important to the intersex community as prior to its creation they mainly identified with the rainbow LGBTQ+ flag or with the transgender flag. Although intersex individuals are more than welcome to identify with these flags and identities they did not quite capture the experience of being intersex which is why Carpenter’s flag is now a widely used symbol of the intersex community.
So what does this flag represent? As a whole, the unification of intersex individuals. Below is a breakdown of what the colors and symbols of this flag represent.
- Yellow and Purple: Represent gender-free colors. The color yellow has historically always been tied to the intersex community.
- Circle: described by Carpenter as “unbroken and unornamented, symbolizing wholeness and completeness, and our potentialities.”
Alternative versions of the intersex flag
Although the Carpenter flag is the most common in terms fo intersex representation, flag designs meddle and change over time. One of the newest iterations of the intersex flag is the intersex progress flag.
LGBTQ+ Intersex Progress Flag
Graphic designer Daniel Quasar created the progress pride flag in 2018. This flag adds on a chevron with five new colors to symbolize progression. The intention of the flag was to show support for the LGBTQ+ community members that historically have been excluded and who have faced maltreatment and at times even persecution. In 2021 designer Valentino Vecchietti incorporated an intersex pride flag into the chevron. This new flag is now known as the intersex progress flag and has since gained popularity. To learn more about the progress flag, click here.
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Intersex flag controversy
The biggest controversy regarding the intersex flag was the fact that it was left out of the first rendition of the progress flag. For many years we have seen the intersex community be left out of pride events and conversations. When Valentino Vecchietti incorporated the intersex flag into the progress flag many community members were grateful for the inclusion. Because intersex pride has not always been recognized, small gestures such as that are critical to intersex visibility and support.
Want to learn more about being intersex?
Being intersex cannot be defined by a singular experience. Someone may be born and appear to be stereotypically “female” but have “male” anatomy on the inside or perhaps have mosaic genes meaning they have both XX chromosomes and XY chromosomes. The myriad of approaches to being intersex is expansive and it is beautiful. Humans are so individually unique and the intersex community proves that point in a perfect way.
With that being said intersex can include asexual individuals, lesbian individuals, polyamorous individuals, and more. There are endless ways to be intersex. It is also important to know that there is a large community of support waiting for you if you decide to come out. You are never alone and the intersex community is a united force.
The bottom line is representation matters. Flags are a necessary tool when it comes to representing a community, identity, or sexuality. Putting up a intersex flag or wearing it on a t-shirt shows appreciation and pride for the community. This is not only important for community members who want to feel unified, but also for visibility purposes. The colors and symbols on a flag show the world what it means to be a part of that community and give everyone a chance to show their pride.
In addition, be sure to learn about the other identities that make up the LGBTQ+ community subscribe to the INTO newsletter to learn more.
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