In what’s thought to be a first in the world, Sweden is issuing a stamp depicting the rainbow flag, the international sign of LGBTI Pride.
Designed by artist Lisa Rydell and based on the original flag by Gilbert Baker, the stamp will be released on the 4th of May by PostNord Sweden, the country’s postal service.
“By issuing a stamp with the Pride Flag, we want to emphasise the equal value of all people and the strength represented by people’s unique qualities and differences,” commented Per Ljungberg, Head of Communications at PostNord Sweden.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time the Pride Flag has been reproduced on a stamp – which makes it particularly gratifying that people will now be able to send affectionate greetings with the Pride Flag stamp to all corners of the world,” he said.
PostNord’s Stamp Advisory Committee receives hundreds of suggestions for stamp motifs every year and the idea for the Pride stamp came from Rydell.
”Swedes really like to send and receive stamped letters and postcards,” explained Ljungberg. “For many people, the choice of stamp is an extension of their written message – which will be made especially profound with the new Pride stamp.”
The Pride Flag was officially launched by Baker at San Francisco Pride in 1978 and was quickly adopted by the international LGBT community. It originally had eight colours; pink was removed from the flag due to fabric unavailability and turquoise was dropped to produce an even number of colours.
Since 1979, the stripes of the six-colour flag represent diversity and always appear in the same order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. Each colour carries its own significance, with red symbolising life, orange symbolising healing, yellow symbolising the sun, green symbolising nature, blue symbolising art and violet symbolising spirituality.
In recent years, LGBTI-affirming stamps have become increasingly common. In February, the United Nations Postal Administration launched six commemorative postage stamps to promote LGBT equality.
Stamps have also been issued in the US, dedicated to America’s first openly gay politician, Harvey Milk, and in Finland, to celebrate iconic gay fetish artist Tom of Finland.
The Tom of Finland stamps were dubbed “the most talked-about stamp publication of all time” and became a huge hit with stamp collectors the world over.