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Pride comes in many shapes and sizes – and in many different colors, too. We’ve come to learn that the gender spectrum technically doesn’t just consist of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgenders. In this article, we’re taking a look at the bigender flag, and what it means for a person to don the bigender colors.
What Does It Mean To Be Bi-Gender?
To answer this question, we must first pause to discuss a little bit about Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression or SOGIE.
Babies first come into the world with a biological sex assigned at birth. This means a medical doctor or a trained professional assigns whether a baby is a male, female, or intersex, depending on the infant’s physical features. Therefore, sex refers to an identity assigned at birth.
On the other hand, gender is an internal sense of self, regardless of biological and societal standards. And that’s where SOGIE comes into play.
Sexual orientation refers to whom a person is sexually attracted to. Some people are attracted to only one particular gender, others are a bit more fluid. But there are also those who don’t get attracted to anyone at all. Examples of sexual orientation are asexual, bisexual, gay, lesbian, and pansexual.
Gender Identity and Expression meanwhile has something to do with a way a person identifies himself, herself, or themselves in the gender spectrum. Some examples of different gender identities include cisgender, transgender, and non-binary.
So where does bigender fit in all of this? Simple. They are part of the non-binary group of people, which is an umbrella term for all LGBTQ members who are not exclusively masculine or feminine. This can sometimes be referred to as genderqueer or the third sex.
Bigender people, however, only have two distinct genders. That’s why they can also be called two genders or double genders. These two genders can be male or female, but they can also have other non-binary identities. A bigender person can experience two gender identities in varying times but can also feel both identities simultaneously.
The term bigender was first used in a 1997 paper on the so-called gender continuum in the International Journal of Transgenderism. It once again popped up in 1999 after the San Francisco Department of Public Health conducted a survey to determine how many of their residents identify as bigender.
The Official Bigender Flag
Now that you know what a bigender is, let’s discuss the ‘official’ bigender flag. There is not much information about the origins of the first bigender flag. All we know is it was created prior to 2014 with these particular colors:
- Pink – Female
- Blue – Male
- Lavender / Purple – As a mix of blue and pink, it represents androgyny or being both masculine and feminine
- White – signals the possible shift to any gender, although with bigenders, this only means shifting to up to two genders at a given moment.
Other Known Bigender Flags
A few years back, there were accusations flying around that the original creator of the ‘official’ bigender flag showed signs of being transphobic and predatory. Thus, many members of the bigender community felt uncomfortable associating with the original bigender flag.
There have been many attempts across the years to conceptualize a brand-new bigender flag – one that’s free from the questionable reputation of its designer.
Here are some of the most recognizable bigender flags that have emerged in recent years:
Five-Striped Bigender Flag
Aside from the fact that it was uploaded on Deviantart by an account called ‘Pride-Flags,’ not much is known about the five-striped bigender flag, except that it carries some of the most prominent colors associated with Pride:
- Pink: used to denote femininity and female gender expression
- Yellow: represents gender outside the binary of man and woman
- White: represents those who embrace more than one gender
- Purple: implies fluidity between genders
- Blue: used to denote masculinity and male gender expression
Six-Striped Bigender Flag
The same ‘Pride-Flags’ Deviantart user designed another bigender flag, which is composed of the same colors in the above-discussed flag, with the sole addition of a black stripe, presumably to represent asexuality, which, of course, a bigender can identify with as one of their two distinct genders.
Bisexual Flag-Inspired Bigender Flag
In 2016, bigender blogger Asteri Sympan uploaded a bigender flag she conceptualized and designed. It is distinct from the other flags on this list because it adds new elements to the usual striped design of the bigender flag.
It only contains three colored stripes as background: muted pink, deep purple, and bright blue. According to the creator, she took inspiration from the Michael Page-designed bisexual pride flag, which was released in 1998. According to Page, this is what the tri-color represented:
- Pink: sexual attraction to the same sex (homosexuality)
- Blue: attraction to the opposite sex only (heterosexuality)
- Purple: overlap of the pink and purple colors, to denote sexual attraction to both sexes (bisexuality)
Asteri completed the design of the flag with two triangles drawn on the foreground of the stripes. One triangle is magenta and is rendered to the left, slightly above, and slightly behind the other triangle. The triangle on the right is black.
Triangles hold a historical significance to the LGBT community since this symbol was used in Nazi concentration camps to identify those who are persecuted on the basis of their gender and/or sexual orientation. By using the same symbol on Pride flags and other LGBT insignia, the community has reclaimed the symbol to send a message that they are so much more than their dark past and bitter history.
Official or not, these bigender flags are prized in the community for their role in raising awareness and visibility for an otherwise under-recognized identity group.