Colours & Meanings
Association with Sappho (the poet).
From the inverted black triangle
The labrys symbol represents strength and self-sufficiency
The lesbian labrys flag was designed in 1999 by graphic designr Sean Campbell, and published in the June 2000 Palm Springs Pride edition of Gay and Lesbian Times. According to Sean, the Gay and Lesbian Times had only been publishing for a few months, and so had no photo archive – leading Sean to create graphics in lieu of sourcing photos for licensing.
The background is violet, violet being a colour associated with the Ancient Greek poet Sappho, from whom we get the term “sapphic” from; Sappho was also from the isle of Lesbos, which is where we get the term “lesbian” from.
It is superimposed with a black inverted triangle, which was the symbol worn by “anti-social” people in concentration camps, which included women who were lesbians, non-conformists and sex workers; this symbol was reclaimed in much the same way that the pink triangle was by gay men.
The triangle itself is superimposed with a white labrys. The labrys is a symbol of strength and self-efficiency, also associated with the Ancient Greek Amazons, a tribe of warrior women – it was adopted as a symbol of Lesbian Pride in the 1970s.
The labrys flag is popular amongst lesbian feminists. Unfortunately, it has also become a symbol used by Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists and transphobic lesbians to represent them, however, it continues to be used by trans-inclusive lesbian people as a flag and reclaimed against being used a symbol of lesbian transphobia.
The labrys flag is older than the alternate, striped lesbian flag.