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Tue Jun 25, 2019, 12:30 PM

Happy 41st anniversary, the initial appearance of the rainbow flag.

Rainbow flag (LGBT movement)



The rainbow flag is a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) pride and LGBT social movements in use since the 1970s.

The rainbow flag, commonly known as the gay pride flag or LGBT pride flag, is a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride and LGBT social movements. Other older uses of rainbow flags include a symbol of peace. The colors reflect the diversity of the LGBT community, as the flag is often used as a symbol of gay pride during LGBT rights marches. While this use of the rainbow flag originated in Northern California’s San Francisco Bay Area, the flag is now used worldwide.

Originally devised by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker, the design has undergone several revisions since its debut in 1978, first to remove colors then restore them based on availability of fabrics. The most common variant consists of six stripes: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. The flag is typically flown horizontally, with the red stripe on top, as it would be in a natural rainbow.

History



Original eight-stripe version designed by Gilbert Baker in 1978



Version with hot pink removed due to fabric unavailability
(1978–79)



Six-color version popular since 1979. Indigo and turquoise were changed to royal blue.

Origin

Gilbert Baker, an openly gay activist born in 1951, grew up in Parsons, Kansas, and went on to serve in the US army for about two years around 1970. After an honorable discharge, Gilbert taught himself to sew. In 1974, Baker met Harvey Milk, an influential gay leader, who three years later challenged Baker to come up with a symbol of pride for the gay community. The original gay pride flag flew at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade celebration on June 25, 1978. Before this pride the Pink triangle was used as a symbol for the LGBT Movement but it represented a dark chapter in the history of same-sex rights. The Pink triangle was conceived during World War II as a stigma placed on homosexuals in the same way the Star of David was used against jews. It functioned as a nazi tool of oppression. Harvey Milk and others didn't want to use this symbol anymore, Artie Bressan (close friend of Baker) pressed on Baker for a new symbol and called it "the dawn of a new gay consciousness and freedom" . It has been suggested that Baker may have been inspired by Judy Garland's singing "Over the Rainbow" and the Stonewall riots that happened a few days after Garland's death (she was one of the first gay icons). Another suggestion for how the rainbow flag originated is that at college campuses during the 1960s, some people demonstrated for world peace by carrying a Flag of the Races (also called the Flag of the Human Race) with five horizontal stripes (from top to bottom they were red, white, brown, yellow, and black). The first rainbow flags were commissioned by the fledgling pride committee and were produced by a team led by Baker that included artist Lynn Segerblom. Segerblom was then known as Faerie Argyle Rainbow; she created the original dyeing process for the flags. Baker is said to have gotten the idea for the rainbow flag from the Flag of the Races in borrowing it from the Hippie movement of that time largely influenced by pioneering gay activist Allen Ginsberg. The flag originally comprised eight stripes; Baker assigned specific meaning to each of the colors:

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Thirty volunteers hand-dyed and stitched the first two flags for the parade.

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