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Retro Pride Collection: Exploring Queer History

As we approach Pride Month 2023, I am excited to introduce my latest collection that pays homage to our shared queer history. Drawing inspiration from vintage protest signs and the iconic style of the 70s, the Retro Pride Collection offers a range of items from funky embroidered patches and statement enamel pins, to political pride shirts and groovy stickers, perfect for bringing some retro flair to your summer pride outfits.

"A day without lesbians is like a day without sunshine."

On the left side of the graphic is a photograph of lesbians marching in a pride parade holding a banner with the slogan
Gay Freedom Day,San Francisco, ​​June 1979 - Photographer Unknown

First seen at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day parade in June 1979 the 'A Day Without Lesbians...' slogan was created as a response to well known political activist Anita Bryant's anti-LGBT views. Bryant starred in a number of commercials for the Florida Citrus Commission using the strapline 'Breakfast Without Orange Juice is Like a Day Without Sunshine'. Bryant's link to the brand led gay rights activists to boycott orange juice and create their own versions of the strapline including the lesbian version shown above.

My design brings back this much loved slogan alongside a classic chequered background and a retro style sunshine cartoon character, proudly waving a pride flag. All of the designs in the Retro Pride Collection are printed on a vintage white coloured shirt, chosen to make it seem as though the shirt originated in the 70's.

gilbert baker - the original pride flag

The original pride flag was created by artist and activist Gilbert Baker in 1978. Baker, who was a prominent figure in the LGBTQ rights movement, designed the flag as a symbol of pride and unity for the LGBTQ community.

The flag featured eight colours, each with its own symbolic meaning. These colours included pink for sexuality, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for art and magic, blue for serenity, and violet for spirit.

Over time, the design of the flag evolved, with some colors being removed and others added to create the 6 striped rainbow flag we know today. The pink stripe, for example, was eventually removed due to production difficulties, and the turquoise stripe was replaced with a royal blue stripe to make the flag easier to manufacture. 

"Diversity is our strength, liberation is our fight."

Close up of a pin badge with a pink upside down triangle in the background and black bold text reading
Image from the collection of M. Reimer & L. Brown​​

The original 'Diversity is our strength...' badge was first seen at the Christopher Street Liberation Day parade in New York City, June 1983. The badge features an upside down pink triangle, a reference to the use of pink triangles by the Nazi regime during World War II as a way of identifying and persecuting gay men. In the 1970's, gay rights activists in the United States began to reclaim the pink triangle as a symbol of resistance and pride. They inverted the symbol to represent the idea that LGBTQ people were no longer victims, but instead were fighting back against oppression and discrimination. 

Focussing on the power of the quote this design simply features a classic 70's typeface highlighting the words Diversity and Liberation.

lavender menace

The phrase "Lavender Menace" refers to a perceived threat posed by lesbian feminists to the mainstream feminist movement in the US during the 1960's and 1970's.

The term originated from a speech given by Betty Friedan, the founder of the National Organization for Women (NOW), at their National Conference in 1969. In her speech, Friedan criticised the presence of lesbian feminists in the movement, calling them a "lavender menace" that threatened to undermine the feminist cause by aligning it with homosexuality.

Over time, the term "Lavender Menace" was reclaimed by some lesbian feminists as a symbol of their resistance to exclusion from the feminist movement. Today, it is often used to describe the intersection of feminist and LGBTQ+ activism. 

"we are everywhere"

People walking in a pride parade holding a
Photograph: Hank O'Neal, 1979, New York City Pride Parade​​

"We Are Everywhere" is a powerful statement of LGBTQ visibility and resilience and whilst its exact origins are unclear, it has been a popular slogan within the LGBTQ community for many years.

The phrase has been used in a variety of contexts, from protests and demonstrations to social media campaigns and art installations. It has become a popular rallying cry for LGBTQ activists and allies, who use it to assert their presence and demand equal rights and protections. 


"Gay is Proud" is one of the earliest slogans of the modern LGBTQ rights movement. The phrase was first used by LGBTQ activists in New York City during the annual Gay Pride Parade in 1970. The parade was held to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which had sparked a wave of LGBTQ activism and resistance.

During the parade, a group of LGBTQ activists carried a banner that read "Gay is Proud", which quickly became a rallying cry for the movement. The phrase captured the spirit of LGBTQ pride and resilience, and helped to galvanize the growing movement for LGBTQ rights and visibility.

My design combines the "Gay is Proud" slogan with a 70's typeface and a classic rainbow icon in vintage rainbow colours.

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