In 1978, he created the universally recognized Rainbow Flag, a rallying symbol, which became a bold declaration of pride for our community. In this inspiring piece, the tireless Mr. Baker manages to put down his needle and thread for a moment to share how he came to create this emblem of our movement.
Gilbert Baker, known as the gay Betsy Ross, is the creator of the Rainbow Flag. He designed the flag in San Francisco in 1978 as a positive alternative to the Pink Triangle – a symbol first used by the Nazis to identify homosexuals. The original Rainbow Flag had eight stripes: fuchsia; red; orange; yellow; green; turquoise; blue; and, purple – which represent sex, life, healing, sunlight, nature, magic serenity and spirit. The Rainbow Flag first flew during the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade on June 25, 1978. Two eight- color Rainbow Flags, each measuring 30 feet by 60 feet, flew from the flagpoles at United Nations Plaza. In 1994 Baker created the history making mile-long Rainbow Flag for Stonewall 25 in New York to mark the 25th anniversary of the gay civil rights movement. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized the mile-long Stonewall 25 Rainbow Flag as the world’s largest flag.
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