The rainbow flag is a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer pride. The colors reflect the diversity of the LGBTQ community. The story of the LGBTQ pride flag started in San Francisco back in 1978.
Before 1978. The Pink triangle was used as a symbol for the LGBT Movement but it represented a dark chapter in the LGBTQ history since it was created by the Nazis to stigmatise homosexuals. People didn’t want the triangle as their symbol anymore. They wanted to start a new chapter that will show their freedom. Gilbert Baker was an American artist, an openly gay man and a drag queen. He is also known for designing the first rainbow flag. Gilbert was urged by one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States, Harvey Milk, to create a new symbol for the LGBT community. Baker decided to make that symbol a flag as he concluded that flags are the most powerful symbol. He also saw rainbow as a natural flag from the sky, so he adopted the eight colours, each colour with its own meaning:
- Hot pink – Sex
- Red – Life
- Orange – Healing
- Yellow – Sunlight
- Green – Nature
- Turquoise – Art
- Indigo – Harmony
- Violet – Spirit
After the assassination of Harvey Milk in November, 1978, demand for the rainbow flag sky rocketed. To meet the high demand and ramp up the production, Baker dropped the hot pink stripe because of the unavailability of the hot pink fabric.
In 1979 the flag was modified again. The organisers of the San Francisco Parade decided to split the flag into two in order to decorate the two sides of the parade route. To achieve this, the flag had to have an equal number of stripes, so they dropped turquoise.
The flag remained the same since then. Although there are a lot of variations on the rainbow flag, like the one Philadelphia created in 2017, with black and brown stripes added to show support of people of color.
In year 2015, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City ranked the rainbow flag as an internationally recognised symbol as important as the recycling symbol.
Gilbert Baker, the rainbow flag designer died in 2017.