Gay Pride Flag


The six-color rainbow flag, commonly known as the Gay Pride flag, is one of the most famous flags in modern history. It has transcended the fabric of flags to be the most prevalent representation of the LGBTQIA+ community around the globe. Read on to find out how it became such a powerful symbol!

San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker created the Gay Pride flag in 1978 for the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade. It is believed that the Baker drew inspiration from the Flag of Races, a similarly horizontal-striped flag used during the Hippie movement and featured red, black, brown, yellow, and white stripes to represent different ethnicities. Baker reportedly chose rainbow colors after hearing Judy Garland’s rendition of “Over the Rainbow”.

Eight-color Gay Pride Flag.The original Gay Pride flag featured eight colors, each with its own meaning assigned by Baker. Hot pink represented sexuality, red represented life, orange represented healing, yellow represented sunlight, green represented nature, turquoise represented art, indigo represented harmony, and violet represented spirit.
By 1979, hot pink would be phased out due to fabric unavailability. Later that same year, Indigo and turquoise would be combined into a royal blue. This created the six-color version that became the most prevalent symbol of the LBGTQIA+ community for years to come, replacing several other symbols including the Greek Lambda and a pink triangle.
While the six-color design continues to be the most popular symbol of the LBGTQIA+ community, it has inspired many variations. These variations often aim to better represent the diversity and struggles faced by the LBGTQIA+ community, such as the Philadelphia Pride flag and the Progress Pride flag.Gilbert Baker also created variations of his own design. For the 25th anniversary of the flag in 2003, Baker advocated for people to use his original eight-color design. In 2017, he added a ninth lavender stripe to represent diversity, however the six-color version and other variants remain more popular.The Gay Pride flag has also inspired pride flag designs from various groups within the LBGTQIA+ community. Starting in the late 20th century, designs such as the Lesbian, Transgender, and Bisexual Pride flags began to flourish and inspire other subgroups to create their own flags. Almost all of these Pride flags take inspiration from Baker’s horizontal stripe design.
The Gay Pride Flag once held the world record for largest flag. Baker created the record-breaking version in 1994 for a 25th anniversary celebration of the Stonewall Riots. He produced another version in 2003 for the “25Rainbow Sea to Sea Project” in Key West, Florida. That flag measured a mile and a quarter long.


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