The Month of June has long ago been acknowledged as LGBTQ Pride Month, in appreciation of the Stonewall riots, which occurred in New York City in June 1969. During Pride Month, it is not unique to watch the rainbow flag being proudly shown as a symbol for the LGBTQ rights activity. But how did that flag become a symbol of LGBTQ pride?
It runs back in 1978, when the artist Gilbert Baker, an openly gay man, invented the first rainbow flag. Baker later disclosed that he was prompted by Harvey Milk, one of the first plainly gay elected officials in the U.S., to establish a symbol of pride for the gay community.
Baker determined to make that symbol a flag because he saw flags as the most influential symbol of pride. As he later said in a consultation, “Our job as gay people was to come out, to be visible, to live in the truth, as I say, to get out of the lie.
A flag really fit that mission, because that’s a way of proclaiming your visibility or saying, ‘This is who I am!’” Baker saw the rainbow as a realistic flag from the sky, so he approved eight colors for the stripes, each color with its own meaning (hot pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for spirit).
The initial editions of the rainbow flag were flown on June 25, 1978, for the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day parade. Baker and a team of apprentices had made them by hand, and now he wanted to produce the flag for consumption by all. Nonetheless, because of issues, the pink and turquoise stripes were removed and indigo was replaced by basic blue, which occurred in the contemporary six-striped flag (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet). Today this is the most common variant of the rainbow flag, with the red stripe on top, as in a natural rainbow. The various colors came to evaluate both the enormous diversity and the unity of the LGBTQ community.
It was not until 1994 that the rainbow flag was truly established as the symbol for LGBTQ pride. That year Baker made a mile-long version for the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Now the rainbow flag is a worldwide symbol for LGBTQ pride and can be seen flying proudly, during both the promising times and the difficult ones, all around the world.
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