Get PolitiFact in your inbox.
If Your Time is short
The so-called pedophile pride flag appears to have been created by a Tumblr user in 2018 as a prank. The flag has spread online and may have been used by some people who describe themselves as being "attracted" to children, but most posts that shared the image online did so to condemn its use.
LGBTQ+ advocacy groups have not incorporated pedophilia advocacy into their work, nor have they adopted or shared this flag.
The term "minor-attracted persons" is used by organizations that aim to provide access to therapy for people who describe themselves as being sexually attracted to minors.
June is the month for colorful pride flags. But a worrisome new flag design has been whipping up concerns across social media.
"The pedophiles have their very own (Minor-Attracted Persons) flag," a woman says in a May 31 Instagram reel. "This is not pride and it does not belong in the LGBT community," read the video’s caption.
(Screenshot from Instagram)
Images of the "pedophile pride flag" began circulating in June of 2018, as users shared the image, warning "minors" to be aware of the symbol. The Daily Caller that year suggested the flag was an effort by pedophiles to "gain acceptance" into the LGBTQ+ community.
Despite several fact-checkers debunking the claim that the symbol has anything to do with the LGBTQ+ community or its advocacy work, these claims have recirculated amid 2023’s Pride month celebrations. https://archive.is/kLhzt
Research suggests this flag was created as an online prank. There is no evidence the LGBTQ+ community has adopted it or aims to incorporate pedophilia into its advocacy.
The Instagram post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
The pastel pink, blue, yellow and white-striped flag first appeared on a Tumblr page in June 2018 in what appeared to be a trolling attempt, according to Snopes.
"The NOMAP community doesn’t really have a pride flag, so in honor of pride month I designed a NOMAP pride flag," the post read. The user then described each color stripe and its meaning.
The acronym "NOMAP" is used online to mean "nonoffending minor attracted persons." The term "minor-attracted persons'' is used by some organizations that aim to provide access to therapy and resources for adults who describe themselves as being sexually attracted to children. It has also been used in some research. Use of the phrase has been criticized as an attempt to "normalize" pedophilia.
Despite its prank origins, the flag design gained attention as concerned social media users shared the image as a warning, which led other users to condemn its use. PolitiFact found very few instances of the image being shared on social media in what appeared to be a supportive manner — but even in those cases, the posts’ anonymity made it unclear whether that support was genuine.
Russell Dick is a social worker and co-founder of B4U-ACT, a nonprofit group that promotes access to professional services and resources for adults who say they are attracted to children. Some people with whom his organization engages have shared the flag, he said, but "B4U-ACT has not endorsed the MAP flag nor do we reject MAPs who do display the MAP flag."
He said there is no way to know how all people are using a given symbol, but said that "B4U-ACT is not working to align MAPs with the LGBTQ community." The Global Prevention Project, an organization doing work similar to B4U-ACT’s, states the same on its website.
LGBTQ+ advocates do not endorse this flag.
Laurel Powell, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group with more than 3 million members and supporters, said any claim that the movement to support LGBTQ+ rights is associated with this flag or its supposed meaning is wrong.
"This is categorically false," Powell said, "and disinformation of this kind is part and parcel of ongoing attempts to demonize LGBTQ+ people by claiming associations that do not exist."
The Human Rights Campaign keeps track of pride flags on its website. The MAP flag is not represented.
Laura McGinnis, spokesperson for PFlag, another large LGBTQ+ advocacy organization with more than 325,000 members and supporters, said pedophilia and hebephila (attraction to early adolescents) are "disordered sexual preferences."
"They're not part of the LGBTQ+ community," McGinnis said. She said anti-LGBTQ rhetoric has a long history of leveling accusations of pedophilia against queer people. She characterized such claims as "vile," "dehumanizing," and intended to "strip LGBTQ+ people of their humanity."
"That connection of pedophilia and hebephilia to LGBTQ+ people is longstanding," she said. "It's old, it's tired, and it's incorrect."
Neither the Human Rights Campaign or PFlag knew of any major LGBTQ+ organization that had recognized such a flag or any legitimate advocacy for the inclusion of MAPs in the LGBTQ+ community.
PolitiFact also checked major pride flag vendors and looked online and could find no place where such a flag was being sold. And, despite online claims, the colors used in the MAP flag have nothing to do with the transgender pride flag or the progress pride flag.
An Instagram reel suggested that a movement representing "minor attracted people" has adopted a flag that is being integrated into LGBTQ+ advocacy.
This flag design first surfaced on Tumblr in 2018 in what appears to have been intended as a prank. It is not a part of a large movement for people attracted to children and neither it nor its supposed symbolism is embraced or endorsed by LGBTQ+ advocates. We rate this claim False.
Email interview with Laurel Powell, spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, June 5, 2023
Email interview with Russell Dick, social worker and co-founder of B4U-ACT, June 5, 2023
Interview with Laura McGinnis, spokesperson for PFlag, June 6, 2023
Daily Caller, "Pedophiles Believe They Should Be A Part Of The LGBT Community," July 9, 2018
Snopes, "Does This Image Represent a 'MAPs Pride Flag'?," July 14, 2018
Lead Stories, "Fact Check: NO Evidence Pastel Rainbow 'MAP' Flag Signifies Normalizing Pedophilia," May 11, 2023
AFP Fact Check, "A flag for pedophiles? It exists, but it is not a push for inclusion in the LGBT community," July 9, 2019
FactChequeado, "No, no existe un "grupo organizado" utilizando esta bandera de colores para normalizar la pedofilia," April 21, 2023
Chequeado, "No, no hay evidencia de que las "personas atraídas por menores" estén buscando incluirse en el movimiento LGBT," June 14, 2020
The Global Prevention Project, "Minor Attracted Person vs. Pedophile vs. Sex Offender," August 13, 2018
Archives of Sexual Behavior, "Pedophile, Child Lover, or Minor-Attracted Person? Attitudes Toward Labels Among People Who are Sexually Attracted to Children," 2022
The American Conservative, "Normalizing Pedophiles," November 12, 2021
DailyMail, "Police Scotland slammed for calling paedophiles 'minor-attracted people’," December 30, 2022
Tumblr Page, archived June 26, 2018
Tumblr page, archived July 13, 2018
B4U-ACT, accessed June 6, 2023
The Human Rights Campaign, "LGBTQ+ Pride Flags," accessed June 6, 2023
Pride Palace, "Pride Flags," accessed June 6, 2023
Wiktionary, "NOMAP," accessed June 7, 2023
PFlag, "About," accessed June 7, 2023
Human Rights Campaign, "About," accessed June 7, 2023
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.