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Most people identify as monosexual, which means they feel attracted to only one gender (i.e. heterosexual or homosexual). However, many feel an attraction to multiple (and, in some cases, all) genders. Many call it polysexuality.

Just like the rest of the LGBTQ community, polysexuals have a unique flag to represent their sexual orientation. Keep reading to dig deeper into the polysexual pride flag, its history, and its meaning.

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What is polysexuality?

Polysexuality is a sexual orientation that describes people who feel attracted to more than one gender. The prefix “poly” comes from the ancient Greek word for “many”. This contrasts with monosexuality, which is attraction to only one sex.

Because multisex attraction is not fixed and can vary from person to person, polysexuality can be difficult to define or categorize. As Cameron Glover, business coach and sex educator, said Cosmopolitan“Usually when we talk about sexuality it’s very rooted in binaries – so male/female or non-binary people… But I think there’s a conversation that can be had by looking at sexuality at the beyond that.”

Polysexuality vs Pansexuality

The prefix “poly” means many but not necessarily all. Meanwhile, pansexuality is just a subcategory of polysexuality where the person is attracted to people regardless of gender.

For pansexuals, gender does not affect their attraction – they are attracted to the person, not what they identify with. In contrast, a polysexual person may consider gender when it comes to sexual attraction, sometimes preferring certain genders over others.

Polysexuality vs Bisexuality

Bisexuality is defined as an attraction to two or more genders. According to the Bisexual Resource Center, bisexuality is part of the polysexual umbrella. This means that while some polysexual people may identify as bisexual, some may not.

The History of the Polysexual Flag

Tumblr user Samlin, who identified as polysexual, created the Polysexual Pride Flag. They first submitted the design on July 11, 2012 to the fuckyeahpolysexuality account.

Leonid Altman / Shutterstock

Colors and Meaning of the Polysexual Flag

The most commonly used polysexual pride flag has three horizontal stripes colored pink, green, and blue. The pink band represents women and individuals who identify with women. The green band represents fluid and non-binary individuals, while the blue band is for men and individuals who identify as men.

In the original Tumblr post, Samlin explains the rationale behind the history of the flag colors:

“​​As a poly individual I was very saddened that we don’t have a flag… so I made one 😛 I made it similar to the bi and pan flags since they are all under the multi-sex umbrella.”

The seven-stripe version of the polysexual flag

There is an alternate version of the polysexual flag with a similar meaning to Samlin’s original design but with seven stripes instead of three. The additional stripes are light pink and blue, with white stripes sandwiching the light green stripe down the center. The white and light green stripes represent transgender and polysexual people.

People who identify as polyromantic often use this version of the polysexual pride flag.

Myths about polysexuality

Polysexual people currently face many unfair stereotypes and assumptions about their sexual identity. According to Amney Harper, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Career Counseling at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, there are three major misconceptions about polysexual people:

  • Polysexual people are promiscuous: Although polysexuals are attracted to many genders, they do not necessarily act on this attraction at every opportunity. Sexual activity and drive are not related to sexual orientation.
  • Polysexual people are attracted to everyone: In the same way that heterosexuals are not attracted to everyone of the opposite sex, polysexuals are not attracted to everyone in the world. Types, tastes and other preferences always come into play.
  • Polysexual people don’t know what they really want: some people may identify as polysexual and later identify with a monosexual label. However, this does not mean that polysexuals must eventually “choose” who they are attracted to.

What is the polysexual flag?

How you can be an ally of polysexual people

  • Accept and validate their identity, even if you don’t understand it.
  • Approach them with genuine curiosity and learn about their personal experiences.
  • Listen to your polysexual friends or loved ones when they open up to you.
  • Learn more about polysexual identity and the challenges faced by polysexual people.
  • Speak up when you see someone invalidating the identity of a polysexual person.

The essential

Polysexuality describes a growing number of people who experience sexual attraction to many genders, but not all. The polysexual pride flag is a reminder that sexual attraction and orientation are not monolithic. While most members of society identify as monosexual, there are many who do not – and that is perfectly valid and normal.

Related | Omnisexual vs. Pansexual: What’s the Difference?

What is the polysexual flag?