The genderpunk flag was created at least at least seven years ago in 2016, possibly earlier. From the research I’ve done on the image, it seems the artist and origin are unknown. In addition to that, the meaning and symbolism behind the flag and its design is also unknown. Perhaps I haven’t used the right search terms, and I’d love to be corrected in the comments if I’m wrong, but I’ve yet to find any attempt at assigning meaning to the stripes colors, sizes, and shapes of this particular queer pride flag.
Please note that this is just my interpretation, as symbolism in flags can vary widely depending on the specific culture, group, or individual that the flag represents. Additionally, since the genderpunk movement is about challenging and subverting traditional gender norms, its worth considering that perhaps the meaning of these colors is intentionally ambiguous, fluid, and open to personal interpretation. Here’s my personal interpretation. You’re welcome to adopt and share it if you’d like, or develop your own alternative.
Purple is often associated with non-binary and other gender non-conforming identities. This is aligns with the genderpunk philosophy of challenging the gender binary by actively and purposefully subverting traditional ideas of gender identity, gender roles, and gender presentation that assume a person’s sense of self, social roles, and sexual orientation are all inherently and essentially predetermined by sex assignment at birth.
White can be seen as symbol of neutrality. It represents the idea of a blank canvas. As such, it suggests the rejection of pre-assigned or traditional identities and social roles. It speaks to the opportunity and right of each individual to self-define their own identity, regardless of the how they’re born or treated by others early in life.
Red could symbolize passion, courage, or revolution, all of which are key to a movement centered around challenging and changing societal norms. It could also represent the blood of those who have given or lost their lives in the struggle to carry us as far as we’ve come to this point as a queer community. In this way it represents those who fought and were arrested a Stonewall. It represents all those who’ve died in the Aids pandemic. And it also represents those like Matthew Shepherd, Penélope Díaz Ramírez, and Cherry Bush who have been brutally murdered by cishet supremacists.
The color black is often associated with rebellion, strength, and the unknown. A good illustration is the way anarchists and black bloc activists often dress head to toe in black while rebelling against the state and police. It gives them strength through collective anonymity. In this way, the color black in the genderpunk flag could symbolize strong and active collective resistance against traditional gender roles and norms, as well as the complexity inherent in individual gender identities.
Dark blue could represent qualities like depth, stability, or introspection, all of which might symbolize the personal journey of understanding, compassion, and expression of one’s own gender identity.
Given that the width of the stripes decreases from the dark purple to white, to the red, black, and dark blue, this could represent the different layers or levels of self-expression, self-identity, and societal interaction. The dark purple, being the widest, may represent the overarching theme of challenging the gender binary. While the other sized stripes represent the individual journeys and unique struggles within that broader context.
Another possibility is that the wide, purple bands and their placement at the corners of the flag could symbolize the broad, encompassing nature of the genderpunk movement and the foundational role that challenging tradition, binary gender roles plays within the movement.
While symbolism in flags usually focuses on color, the use of geometric shapes in flags can carry symbolic weight as well. Here’s a potential interpretation of the shapes in the genderpunk flag:
Scalene Right Triangles
The non-equal sides and angles of the flag’s two dark purple triangles could symbolize the diversity and non-uniformity within the genderpunk community. Each side could represent a different aspect of gender identity—for example biological sex, gender expression, and gender identity—with the right angle indicating that these aspects don’t have to align in a conventional way. The two triangles might suggest a reflection or mirror image, symbolizing the idea of challenging and subverting traditional gender expectations.
The white and red trapezoids could be seen as transitional shapes, bridging the space between the darker colored triangles and the black and blue stripes that form the center of the flag. The non-equal sides and angles, again, emphasize the diversity and non-standard nature of genderpunk identities. The red trapezoid might symbolize the active, passionate journey of self-discovery and challenge, while the white trapezoids might represent the peace and freedom that comes with self-definition.
The black and dark blue trapezoids are so close in tone that I like to them of them (in terms of shape) as an elongated hexagon. Being a more complex and symmetrical shape, it could symbolize the complexity and stability found in a fully realized personal gender identity. Its position in the center of the flag could suggest that personal understanding and expression of gender identity is at the heart of the genderpunk movement. The elongated nature of the hexagon could represent a journey or process of self-understanding that is unique to each individual.
Again, keep in mind that these are all just potential interpretations. The actual meanings can be personal and varied within the community. These are my own interpretations, they’re speculative, and the flag’s symbolism could hold entirely different meanings for different people within the genderpunk community.