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California Gay Flags

Last modified: 2014-12-05 by rick wyatt
Keywords: california | gay pride | rainbow |
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[California gay flag] image by Jim Ferrigan

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Flag Description

One version of a gay flag based on the California state flag is shown above. However, in the 11 years the Paramount Flag Co. maintained a flag shop on Polk St., a gay Mecca, in San Francisco, we made a variety of variants of the California state flag for gay customers. We stocked two versions. One popular version, which we stocked, was to simply replace the star with an inverted triangle and to change the stripe to pink. Another version was the take a stock six striped rainbow flag and with the red stripe down, insert the California Bear, into the Rainbow field and then add a red star. [Note: this worked because the stripe on a 3'x5' state flag is the same width as the red stripe on the 3'x5' six-stripe rainbow, thus making it proportionally correct.] In both cases the flags could be fabricated from stock on hand to cut costs. In fact they were usually fabricated out of seconds. Other versions were fabricated upon request, but never stocked.
Jim Ferrigan, 30 October 2002

Pink stripe and triangle flag

[California gay flag] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 1 September 2013

Six-striped flag

[California gay flag] image by Tomislav Todorovic, 1 September 2013

This flag has the bear and star from the state flag on the rainbow field with red stripe at the bottom; no mention was made of the inscription, but as an integral part of the state flag, it was probably there, too. Some examples of how it might have looked may be found at and, but the red and purple stripes are shown narrower than the others, so the charges are not positioned where they ought to be on a complete rainbow flag.

A better reconstruction in terms of the charges' positions, but with an incorrect order of rainbow stripes when compared to the description, can be found at It also has the inscription repainted into red so that it would be more distinctive against the blue stripe, and the star, while occupying the correct position, is almost merged with the red stripe. Currently, the best reconstruction of this flag can be found at

Although the rainbow color shades vary a bit from the usual ones there, it shall be borne on mind that they are not fixed. Actually, a web search of relevant images would reveal that red on the rainbow flags, especially those used in California, may sometimes be almost as dark as the shade from the California state flag; it would also reveal that on the Californian gay flag with the red stripe replaced by six rainbow stripes, the shade of red varies a lot, as well as do those of other rainbow colors and those of the bear and star, the red rainbow stripe and the star sometimes even having different shades.
Tomislav Todorovic, 1 September 2013

Californian bear pride flag

[California bear pride flag] image by Jim Ferrigan and Tomislav Todorovic, 19 September 2011

Californian bear pride flag - usually called simply "Californian bear flag" - was used by the bear community of San Francisco in early 2000's and possibly in late 1990's as well. It is derived from the Californian gay flag simply by omitting the star and inscription. The flag seems to have fallen out of use long ago, having been replaced by flags in much more widespread use, most notably the International Bear Brotherhood Flag.

[1] Chris Pinette's website at the Internet Archive - Flags of the Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Community (last updated on 2000-11-28):
[2] Spreebaeren club Berlin - Bearish Info page:

Tomislav Todorovic, 19 September 2011