CLAIM: White, pink and light blue stripes on a version of the LGBTQ+ pride flag, known as the Progress Pride flag, were added to represent pedophiles.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Daniel Quasar, the designer who created the Progress Pride flag, told The Associated Press the colors represent the transgender community. Representatives of multiple LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations confirmed to the AP the meaning of the colors, which also appear on other pride flags.
THE FACTS: As Pride month enters its final week, a video spreading on social media is promoting the erroneous claim.
A man in the video stands in front of a building’s wall painted with the Progress Pride flag, which includes white, pink, light blue, brown and black stripes in addition to the six colors of the traditional rainbow Pride flag. He says that the white stripe represents “attraction to infant boys,” the pink “attraction to minor girls” and the white “attraction to virgin children.”
One Instagram post that shared the video commented: “How much further will they keep pushing…when will this end?! If you’re not aware yet, this is nothing less than a battle…” It had received more than 2,700 likes by Friday.
But the colors used are used to celebrate diversity and have nothing to do with pedophiles. The Progress Pride flag was created in 2018 by Quasar, who uses the pronoun they. Quasar told the AP that the white, pink and light blue stripes on the flag are representative of the transgender Pride flag, which uses the same colors.
“All those people are underneath this umbrella that is the trans flag,” Quasar said. “And my use of it in the Progress Pride flag is meant to represent the trans community who, even more so now, five years after its initial creation, desperately need our help and assistance to just be allowed to exist.”
Quasar added that the notion that any part of the Progress Pride flag represents pedophiles “is entirely false.”
Brown and black stripes on the Progress Pride flag represent communities of color. The black stripe also represents those lost to, or living with, HIV and AIDS, according to multiple descriptions of the flag.
The transgender Pride flag was designed in 1999 by Monica Helms, a transgender activist and U.S. Navy veteran, and debuted at a Pride parade in Phoenix the next year, according to the Smithsonian. Its pink stripes and blue stripes represent “traditional” boy and girl colors, while the white stripe represents people who are intersex, transitioning or have an undefined gender.
Multiple representatives of LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations confirmed the connection to the transgender community and said that there is no truth to the claim spreading online.
“This is, of course, false and yet another example of purposeful disinformation spreading unchecked on social media,” Laurel Powell, deputy director of communications for the Human Rights Campaign, told the AP in an email. “The blue, white, and pink stripes on the progress pride flag represent the inclusion of transgender people, whose pride flag is pink, blue, and white.”
Dinean Robinson, senior director of communications and marketing at The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in New York, agreed with this assessment.
“There’s no truth to this,” she wrote in an email to the AP. “All versions of the Pride flag celebrate the LGBTQ community and some seek to honor intersectionality. Every year anti LGBTQ groups, including some right-wing media outlets, promulgate a ridiculous story about the meaning of the Pride flag.”
This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.