We all recognize the iconic rainbow flag as the traditional symbol of gay pride. But how many of us truly know the history of the flag that so many of us wave proudly?
March 31, 2018 marked the one year anniversary of Gilbert Baker, the creator of our prideful rainbow flag. Baker’s self-taught talent at sewing after situating himself in San Francisco post an honorable discharge from the US Army in 1972 pave his way into LGBTQ history.
Dead smack in the era of gay libration, Gilbert’s sewing skills came in handy for gay activists’ banners. But it wasn’t until 1978 that the flag maker came up with the iconic rainbow flag design. Baker found himself aligned with late San Francisco Board of Supervisors Member Harvey Milk, the first elected gay male in the history of the United States.
Milk’s hopeful disposition inspired Baker to create the honored rainbow flag and they debuted the beloved pride symbol on June 25th 1978 at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade. Since that historical day the rainbow flag became recognized as the universal gay pride symbol and has been flown, carried and affixed on other items to proudly showcase LGBTQ pride.
Baker’s rainbow flag means so much to our community and the specific stream of colors that makeup the prideful flag (ROYGBIV: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet) are meant to stand for inclusion. And although the enduring flag takes on slight variations from time to time, the essential meaning of unity still remains strong.
With love and admiration, we here at KWIR Media honor the life of Gilbert Baker, the man who gave us a symbol to stand strong while unapologetically proud.