MSU Collage Image


 "GLB-BLT-...well whatever they like to be called."

"Why do gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders have so many abbreviations, symbols and rainbows? I mean, it's like I don't have to announce that I'm straight, so why do you all have to put it in everyone's face?"

Good question, and as part of the ALLYance's mission (education, awareness & support), we're here to explain why we use certain symbols, phrases, etc. and to provide you with a list of reading material, in case you're interested in learning more about this topic.




(Check availability at Camden-Carroll Library )


No, this isn't a secret code or an attempt to confuse the public with a trendy name. GLBT simply stands for: gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. It's just easier to say GLBT or LGBT, etc. than saying each word individually. An optional "Q" is sometimes added to represent those who are questioning their identity.

L (lesbian), G (gay), B (bisexual), T (transgender), Q (questioning), Q (queer, as in "gender queer"), I (intersexed), A (asexual)

GLAAD  Media Reference Guide

pink triangleblack trianglePink & Black Triangles


Not because gay men like pink and are stylish and lesbians are depressed and gothic, the pink & black triangles were originally Nazi concentration camp badges, used to identify prisoners who were sent there because of their homosexuality under Paragraph 175.

Other triangles that have developed in the gay rights movement include a pink and blue triangle overlaid to represent bisexuality and a pink triangle containing a Mars/Venus symbol for transgender.



The Men with the Pink Triangle: The True Life-and-Death Story of Homosexuals in the Nazi Death Camps by Heinz Heger, translated by David Fernbach (1994) ~book


The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War Against Homosexuals by Richard Plant (1988) ~book

Paragraph 175  (2000) ~dvd

Bent  (1997) ~dvd

Rainbow FlagRainbow Flag
Designed by San Francisco artist, Gilbert Baker in 1978 for first gay pride parade. A friend of the late Harvey Milk, politician and activist, Baker designed the flag to represent:


 red: light

 orange: healing
 yellow: sun
 green: natural serenity
 blue: art
 violet: spirit & harmony

The Queer Encyclopedia of Arts  edited by Claude J. Summer (2004) ~book

The Greek letter, lambda, was first used in 1970 as a symbol of gay pride after graphic artist Tom Doerr suggested it to the New York City Gay Activists Alliance. Lambda represents "a complete exchange of energy" in the science and physics fields and it serves as a symbol of change in the gay community.


GLBTQ: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer Culture (online resource)
Equality SymbolEquality Symbol

The equality symbol was developed by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and is represented by a yellow equal sign in a blue square, and is a familiar symbol for equal rights for GLBTQ people.

Human Rights Campaign (online resource)