Straight Ally Flag – A useful symbol or pointless accessory? 

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Everybody has heard of people creating symbols, such as flags to identify themselves with a particular community and its cause and use them as rallying points.

But have you ever heard of a flag created to be used by people support to a cause and at the same time to show that they do not belong to the community whose cause they are supporting? Bizarre? Behold the Straight Ally Flag, a.k.a., the Straight Ally Pride Flag!!!

Image of Straight Ally Flag
Straight Ally Flag

The Straight Ally Flag or the Straight Ally Pride Flag represents the allyship and friendship of the heterosexual or cisgender or more informally, “straight people”, with the LGBTQ+ community and the support extended to the latter’s movement for equal civil rights and a world free of discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.

It is important to mention that using the straight ally flag is not at all a necessary condition for showing your support to the LGBTQ+ community, neither is it customary for heterosexual persons to use the straight ally flag during parades or protest marches.

Origin of the Straight Ally Flag

The straight ally flag, like some other flags associated with pride, is of unknown origin and understood to have emerged sometime in the first decade of the third millennium. No primary source has so far been identified and acknowledged as the originator(s) or creator(s) of the straight ally flag.

Design of Straight Ally Flag

The Straight Ally flag uses the straight or heterosexual flag, which is made up of six alternating black and white stripes, as the base on which the English alphabet ‘A’ is superimposed in rainbow colors of the modern Rainbow Flag or Pride Flag, where the letter A stands for “Ally” and the rainbow colors represent LGBTQ+ community. 

Straight Flag
Straight Flag
Rainbow Flag
Rainbow Flag

As you can see, it has a rather simple design that is easily comprehensible by anyone who is reasonably aware of the LGBTQ+ context. 

Interestingly, the straight ally pride flag uses the most popular version of the Pride Flag in vogue with only six stripes or colors, omitting hot pink and turquoise colors from the original rainbow flag designed by Gilbert Baker. The omitted colors pink and turquoise represented sex and magic, respectively.

Who is a Straight Ally

A Straight ally is a heterosexual or cisgender (someone who identifies with the gender assigned at birth) individual who supports equal civil rights, freedom of expression, individual autonomy and freedom of association for LGBTQ+ people and appreciates the need for them to enjoy a life free from discrimination and prejudice on the basis of gender identity, sexual orientation, etc. A true ally learns about the issues of the LGBTQ+ community and stands by the community with sensitivity and earnestness.

What purpose is served by the Straight Ally Flag

The primary objective served by the Straight Ally Flag is to signal to the world that the person with the flag is a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community and its cause. 

The flag gives the heterosexual allies a symbol to put on or wave during pride parades, demonstrations, protests, etc. without presenting themselves as a part of the LGBTQ+ community.

What’s wrong with the Straight Ally Flag

Many people from the LGBTQ+ community have expressed skepticism around the straight ally flag and question the genuineness of the intent of those who insist upon having such a flag. The major reasons behind the same are listed below. 

Plainly Pointless

It is felt that the straight ally flag is unnecessary as it is a symbol of a cause that supports another cause that does not even belong to the community that uses or proposes to use it. Similar views have been expressed by heterosexual people who think that they would rather use the rainbow flag for showing solidarity with the cause which fits and serves the purpose perfectly. In other words, the flag in question seems quite dispensable. 

The problem is that the enthusiasm of some allies to use the flag or even wear it during a parade doesn’t tell the LGBTQ+ community whether they are actually aware of the real issues concerning the community. It is important because uniformed allies could do more harm to the community than any good.


The use of the Straight Ally Flag could be indicative of validation-seeking behavior by some heterosexual people who use it as a symbol for seeking reassurance for their decision to support the LGBTQ+ community. Approval-seeking behavior is indicative of lack of confidence and conviction in one’s decisions or actions. 

They will march along every now and then holding the flags, overemphasizing their support to the LGBTQ+ movement. This constant expression of support beyond a certain point appears to look like approval-seeking and casts doubts on their conviction and to the quality of support being offered to the community. 

Performance Activism

Those who disapprove of the Straight Ally Pride Flag argue that it is used by some as a potent tool to gain attention or even benefit financially from the visual signaling. Needless to say, there would hardly be any firm commitment on part of such people to the LGBTQ+ community. Such people are mostly seen performing this “activism” on social media platforms which can be done easily from the comfort of their homes or offices. 

To Look Woke

Closely related to performance activism is the use of the straight ally flag as an accessory by heterosexual people to flaunt their progressive views and make an avant-garde of themselves. Their bluff gets called when they are seen getting garrulous and trying to impose their opinion on people from the LGBTQ+ community. 


There are people who seek the company of, say transsexuals or bisexuals to satisfy some fetish but are not sure about how to find them. The Straight Ally Flag may be misappropriated by such people who have nothing to do with LGBTQ+ rights. Therefore, having such a symbol may encourage people seeking to satisfy their fetish by giving them a tool to find targets. Such instances would certainly not inspire confidence in the community that the flag claims to support.

The LGBTQ+ people are right in asking why a flag is required to do the bare minimum of not discriminating against them on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation, supporting equal rights for everyone and speaking up whenever there is a violation of their rights. 

This brings us to our next question.

Is the Straight Ally Flag Offensive?

Why should a simple flag cause offense to people? It should not. However, it is only human for a community, that has a long history of getting marginalized at the hands of the privileged majority, to feel annoyed and frustrated to see the latter creating a symbol that in the same breath supports and distances itself from the LGBTQ+ community. 

Despite this, a vast majority of the LGBTQ+ people feel that a Straight Ally Flag, though unnecessary, is not offensive at all and that it is up to the heterosexual people to use it if they feel it serves any purpose. 

They recognize that support in any form is very welcome, especially from people outside the community. 

Only the perpetrators of discrimination against people on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation can take offense at something as harmless as a flag supporting the LGBTQ+ community. 

Besides, LGBTQ+ people are too tolerant and peace-loving to get offended by a straight ally flag whether or not the person carrying it genuinely supports the community. 

Read also: Unlabeled Pride Flag | People with No Label and their Symbol

How can heterosexual allies show solidarity with LGBTQ+ community?

  • The very first thing that one can do as a heterosexual person is to think about their own views, beliefs and attitudes towards LGBTQ+ community and their issues. They need to accept the fact that their being privileged may prevent them from recognizing the discrimination and oppression that LGBTQ+ people face routinely. It will make you realize that being a LGBTQ+ person requires a lot of grit and character. Unless you accept this there is no use brandishing a flag and calling it “support”. 
  • Take a stand and Speak Up!!! Being neutral about the LGBTQ+ cause is only going to pep up the bullies. If you see people being bullied or oppressed, you must intervene and protest. The majority may possibly walk away knowing that they are being a coward. But your act of support will probably have a domino effect and encourage similar acts of solidarity some other time from those who walked away today.
  • You may join some organization that supports and does advocacy work for the LGBTQ+ community. Such organizations include Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), etc. 
  • Another way of showing solidarity is by educating others about LGBTQ+ issues within your circle and in places where the LGBTQ+ people would feel unsafe. There is a greater chance of the “majority” listening to a heterosexual person rather than someone from the LGBTQ+ community for obvious reasons. 
  • The heterosexual people who occupy marketing and design positions across corporations can demonstrate their solidarity by breaking the stereotypical representation of LGBTQ+ in ad campaigns, publicity material and other corporate literature. It will help in making the real issues of LGBTQ+ reach a wider population and help in shaping public opinion in favor of the community. It will also assist in tackling the issues related to rainbow capitalism.
  • Attend events organized by LGBTQ+ as often as you can and take your friends along. Be there for the community as a friend when they actually need them and not merely at Pride events.
  • The cultural opprobrium of LGBTQ+ needs to be tackled through positive laws and equal civil rights and privileges of the community. In consultation with LGBTQ+ groups you can make representations to the lawmakers in your constituencies to bring about legislation that will positively change things for the community. 
  • Withdraw from social media activism and go out in the real world where the oppression actually happens. Too much action on social media to demonstrate solidarity and support with the cause often obscures the intended message and defeats the purpose. Don’t let the “act of support” become more important than the cause.
  • Opportunities of making big ticket contributions will be rare, however you can certainly try to make your workplace, establishment and neighborhood free from prejudice and safe for the LGBTQ+ people and foster an atmosphere where justice and love can thrive. 
  • Most importantly, listen to your LGBTQ+ friends and acquaintances. It would certainly make them comfortable when you genuinely listen to them without just focusing on their sexual orientation and preferences. 
Read also: Butch Lesbian Flag


The LGBTQ+ movement has its symbols in the form of flags, letters, glyphs and codes. These symbols unify the community by instilling a sense of belongingness and allegiance to each other. 

While it is good to have a symbol that can be used as a rallying point, the Straight Ally Flag does not seem to serve any purpose at all for it has nothing to do with the LGBTQ+ community. It little more than an accessory for heterosexual people who wish to be identified as a supporter, but not a part, of the LGBTQ+ community. 

The whole idea of having a flag for an ally, who is so timid to hold the rainbow flag for the fear of being mistaken for a part of LGBTQ+ community, is itself rooted in hypocrisy. 

But then, it is a free country and people are at liberty to use such symbols to identify themselves. At the end of the day, what matters is whether you actually made any positive difference to the lives of the people around you.

If you opt to use the flag, it should remind you of the struggle of the LGBTQ+ people and your responsibility to do something for them.

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