So often in today’s society, we share and display images, quotes, symbols and flags without perhaps stopping first to understand their meaning or importance. At Interchange Outer East, we choose to display five flags on our email signatures, at our sites and on many of our communications as a way of celebrating diversity. More than just a statement to say ‘people from diverse backgrounds are welcome here’, we display these flags because we want all people to know that diversity is essential in order to grow, to learn and to appreciate that everyone has something to offer. We believe that no organisation or group, large or small, is the best it can be unless it is built and sustained by the diverse contributions of many.

At Interchange Outer East (IOE) our email signatures display flags as an indication of support and welcome to those Australian people in our community whom have been systemically disadvantaged by the laws of the country, and traditionally by the attitudes and prejudices of others in the community. 

By displaying the flags, it indicates to people that IOE acknowledges the challenges people face in seeking supports and services and is welcoming and willing to work together to meet their individual needs. 

We choose to recognise and pay respect to Australia’s First Nations people – Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders. We also choose to display three pride flags in order to send a message that at IOE, we strive to build a safe and welcoming environment for all. We do this through education, discussion, planning and policy. We welcome any opportunity to learn from diverse groups about how we can better support them within IOE and into the wider community.


On 14 July 1995, the Governor General of Australia William Hayden proclaimed both the Aboriginal Flag and the Torres Strait Islander Flag to be Flags of Australia to represent the two distinct different cultures. Displaying the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags demonstrates Australia’s recognition of First Nation peoples. It promotes a sense of community partnership and a commitment toward reconciliation.

Aboriginal Flag

The Aboriginal Flag was designed by Harold Thomas, a Luritja man from Central Australia. According to Mr Thomas, the meaning of the flag is represented through:
• Black: the Aboriginal peoples of Australia
• Yellow: the Sun, the giver of life and protector
• Red: the red earth, red ochre and a spiritual relationship to the land
I’ve got a symbol that represents me and who I am, whether I live in Redfern or Adelaide or Perth. I’m proud of it.
– Harold Thomas

Torres Straight Islander Flag

The meaning of the Torres Strait Islander flag is represented through:
• Green: the land
• Blue: the sea
• White: peace
• Black: the Torres Strait Islander peoples
At the centre of the Torres Strait Islander flag is a dhari headdress, which represents the people of the Torres Strait Islands. The five pointed star in the middle of the dhari represents the five major island groups, as well as the importance of stars for navigational purposes.


While there are many flags representing the queer and gender diverse communities, IOE chooses to display the Rainbow Flag, the Trans Pride Flag and the Non Binary Pride Flag. By displaying these flags, we hope to send a message to all people that acceptance, kindness and inclusion are paramount and that members of the LGBTQIA+ community are welcome and celebrated here.
To many these flags may seem insignificant or merely a bright window covering, but for members of the LGBTQIA+ community these flags mean much more! You may hardly notice them, but having these flags displayed around organisations like IOE allows queer people to take a breath and let their guard down as they know they are entering a safe space.
– Jesse Baker, IOE LGBTQIA+ Development Officer

Rainbow Flag

There are several accepted and official versions of the Pride Flag – also known as the Rainbow Flag. Interchange Outer East chooses to display the version that includes black and brown stripes to represent LGBTQIA+ people of all races and religions, first introduced in Philadelphia in 2017.
 The late artist and activist Gilbert Baker created the original Rainbow Flag in 1978 following the election of Harvey Milk, the first-ever gay person to be elected to office as San Francisco city supervisor in California. Each of the colours in the original flag also have their own meaning – (hot pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for spirit. The flag represents the LGBTQ community collectively and is displayed to celebrate pride, diversity and unity, and to champion the rights of queer and gender diverse people all over the world.

Trans Pride Flag

Monica Helms, an openly transgender American woman, designed the Trans Pride Flag in August 1999. She describes the meaning of the transgender flag as follows:
“The stripes at the top and bottom are light blue, the traditional color for baby boys. The stripes next to them are pink, the traditional color for baby girls. The stripe in the middle is white, for those who are intersex, transitioning or consider themselves having a neutral or undefined gender. The pattern is such that no matter which way you fly it, it is always correct, signifying us finding correctness in our lives.”

Non Binary Pride Flag

Non-binary is a large umbrella term for anyone who does not align with the traditional binary male/female gender structure. The non binary flag is yellow, white, purple, and black. It is one of the most common flags that people use in the non binary community. The yellow represents non-masculine and non-feminine genders, the white represents all genders, the purple is a combination of masculine and feminine genders, and the black is for non-genders.
  • To learn about the Wurundjeri people, the traditional owners of our local lands, visit www.wurundjeri.com.au
  • For more information on supporting LGBTQIA+ young people, we recommend www.minus18.org.au