Gilbert Baker’s original rainbow flag, June 25, 1978. c/o @themuseumofmodernart. On June 25, 1978, thirty-eight years ago today, Gilbert Baker and friends raised a hand-sewn rainbow flag at San Francisco’s Civic Center during the city’s Gay Freedom Day, marking the first appearance of the now-ubiquitous symbol of Gay Pride. Baker first considered creating a flag for the gay liberation movement in 1976, during the United States’ bicentennial celebrations. “We are a people, a tribe if you will,” Baker explained. “And flags are about proclaiming power, so it’s very appropriate….We needed something beautiful, something from us. The rainbow is so perfect because it really fits our diversity in terms of race, gender, ages, all of those things.” Baker’s original flag had eight colors, each assigned its own meaning: hot pink-sexuality; red-life; orange-healing; yellow-sunlight; green-nature; turquoise-magic/art; blue-serenity/harmony; and violet-spirit. In 1979, when Baker approached the Paramount Flag Company about mass producing the flags, the hot pink fabric proved too expensive, so the color was dropped; soon after, organizers of the 1979 Gay Freedom Day Parade told Baker that they hoped to fly the flag in two halves, so Baker dropped indigo, leaving the six-striped flag that remains today. Because of his creation of the tribe’s flag, Baker, who is commonly seen in his drag queen persona, earned the drag name “Busty Ross.” #lgbthistory #lgbtherstory #lgbttheirstory #lgbtpride #queerhistorymatters #haveprideinhistory


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