Although it’s been a while since LGBT rights advocacy made it into mainstream culture, it took a little longer until awareness about these rights made it into stamps. But once the precedent was set, it seems that there’s a fair portion of stamps devoted to the topic in recent years. Basically, we are talking about the period between 2010 and 2020 – but more, more LGBT-themed stamps are sure to come, making this topic a new topical interest for collectors worldwide! Below you can find in chronological order the stamps of this history-in-the-making. I chose to exclude the stamps devoted to allegedly LGBT or openly LGBT personalities on stamps, but focus on the stamps related to human rights, events, and commemorations related to the LGBT communities worldwide.
The first LGBT-themed stamp I know of was issued in 2010 by the Austrian Post.
It was issued to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Rainbow Parade in Vienna.
Uruguay, one of the most socially liberal states of South America, issued in 2013 a stamp that makes a straightforward (pun intended) allusion to LGBT rights.
Pictured above, the 2013 sheet issued by Uruguay Post. The stamp was issued in a very limited number of copies (approximately 6,000) in numbered sheets of 8. It alludes to Eugène Delacroix‘s painting “Liberty Leading the People” (French: La Liberté guidant le peuple), replacing the French flag with a rainbow one. Really impressive!
Scorned by some as being the exact opposite when it comes to social rights, Cuba made great strides when it ‘officialized’ the awareness of the fight against discrimination on a series of 4 stamps, issued in 2013.
Pictured above, the 4 Cuban stamps. Left to right: fighting against racial discrimination; fighting against child molesting; fighting against homophobia; and fighting against discrimination based on disabilities. Way to go, Cuba!
Iceland issued in 2013 a series of 5 stamps devoted to local festivals, among which the spring Gay Pride!
The five stamps in the series represent cultural events from Iceland, such as the Reykjavik Gay parade, held since 2000; the music festival I’ve Never Been to the South; the family festival The Big Fish Day, the music festival Brææðslan, and the Vestmannaeyjar folk culture festival. The latter has been organized since as long as 1874!
Argentina was the tenth country in the world to recognize and perform same-sex marriages since 2010. A stamp celebrating the equal marriage rights law was issued in 2014, in the Decada Ganada series. I wrote a separate article about this wonderful series of stamps and its criticism.
Pictured above, the stamp issued in 2014 celebrating the Law 26.618 regarding marriage equality.
Pictured above, the 2015 stamps issued by Greenland in honor of LGBT couples.
Sweden chose a very ‘traditional’ design for their first LGBT rights stamp, issued in 2016. The self-adhesive stamp is really a looker!
However, it was less traditional when it came to the use of the stamp. The stamp, which has a local postage value can also be used for international letters to Russia. Needless to say, activists took the hint and addressed rainbow-stamped letters to officials and human watch campaigns based in the Russian Federation.
Pictured above, the First Day Sheet that accompanies the Swedish stamp.
A great series of stamps was issued also in 2016 by the Netherlands on the occasion of the Amsterdam Europride.
Pictured above, the cover of the booklet.
Pictured above, the stamps from the Dutch stamp booklet.
The United Nations
In 2016, the United Nations issued 3 sets of 2 LGBT-themed stamps each in their offices in New York, Vienna, and Geneva. They are my favorite from this collection, due to their very elegant design. Their designer, Sergio Baradat, who is of Cuban background, explained that his style stems from his appreciation for French Art Deco and growing up in Miami.
Pictured above, the sets issued in the offices of New York, Vienna, and Geneva of the United Nations.
Pictured above, the LGBT-themed stamps issued by Denmark in 2017.
Canada issued a single LGBT-themed stamp in 2017, in a series of stamps celebrating the achievements of 150 years of Canada.
Pictured above, the cover of the booklet of stamps devoted to marriage equality.
Pictured above, the interior of the booklet, featuring 8 self-adhesive stamps.
Liechtenstein issued in 2019 a joint stamp series with Switzerland to celebrate social diversity. Based on a contest, two designs won: one by Samuel Jordi showing the “puzzle of society”, and a second one by Luigi Olivadotti, entitled “Throng” which depicts a joyful LGBT parade.
Pictured below the indentical design from the joint issue with Liechtenstein from 2019 issued by the Swiss Post.
Australia issued in 2019 a set of two stamps celebrating marriage equality, and is to my knowledge the first country ever to feature on the stamps same-gender couples!
In 2020, Philippines issued a 4-stamp series which was gathered together under the safe space of Valentine Day, depicting 4 types of love: love of nature, love for country, self-love and love without gender discrimination.
The stamps were issued in minisheets of 8, featuring 2 stamps each from the 4 designs.
The latest stamp I added to my LGBT collection comes from Spain and was issued in 2020. A self-adhesive stamp with a simple, rainbow-flag design, it celebrates the Association Pasaje Begoña (in Spanish: Asociación Pasaje Begoña) from Torremolinos, Malaga.The association is consecrated on the stamp as the cradle of LGBT rights (in Spanish: cuña de los derechos LGBT).
Stamps featured in post: 36; Period: contemporary (2010-2020); Michel Catalog numbers and prices: Austria: Mi2881 – 1.2EUR; Uruguay: Mi3346 -52EUR; Cuba: Mi5735-5738 – 5.2EUR; Iceland: Mi1389-1393 – 6.5EUR; Argentina: Mi3554 – 0.3EUR (full set 80EUR); Greenland: Mi702 – 3.4EUR; Sweden: Mi3123 – 1.8EUR; the Netherlands: Mi3485-3486 – 3.4EUR; United Nations Geneva: Mi938-939 – 5EUR; United Nations New York: Mi1500-1501 – 3.5EUR; United Nations Vienna: Mi901-902 – 3.2EUR; Denmark: Mi1921-1922 – 5EUR; Canada: Mi3502 – 0.9EUR; Liechtenstein: Mi1967-1968 – 4.7EUR; Switzerland: Mi2630-2631 – 4.6EUR; Australia: Mi5010-5011 – 4EUR; Spain: Mi5454 – 2.3EUR; Philippines – Michel catalog number and price not given at the time of publication; Availability: generally available, with the exception of stamp from Uruguay, both as single and as sheet.