Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rainbow Flag


The first Rainbow Flag was designed in 1978 by Gilbert Baker, a San Francisco artist, who created the flag in response to a local activist’s call for the need of a community symbol. (This was before the pink triangle was popularly used as a symbol of pride.) Using the five-striped “Flag of the Race” as his inspiration, Baker designed a flag with eight stripes. Baker dyed and sewed the material for the first flag himself — in the true spirit of Betsy Ross.
Christopher Pinette, 12 Jun 1996

The design may have been influenced by flags with multicolored stripes used by various left-wing causes and organizations in the San Francisco area in the 1960s. The Rainbow Flag originally had eight stripes (from top to bottom):

hot pink for sex,
red for life,
orange for healing,
yellow for sun,
green for serenity with nature,
turquoise for art,
indigo for harmony, and
violet for spirit.
Handmade versions of this flag were flown in the 1978 Gay Freedom Day Parade.
Steve Kramer, 24 April 1998
Use of the rainbow flag by the gay community began in 1978 when it first appeared in the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade. Borrowing symbolism from the hippie movement and black civil rights groups, San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow flag in response to a need for a symbol that could be used year after year. Baker and thirty volunteers hand-stitched and hand-dyed two huge prototype flags for the parade. The flags had eight stripes, each color representing a component of the community.
Marcus Schmöger, 26 Aug 2001, 

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