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LGBT History Month and the Rainbow Flag

Pride Flag

October is nationally recognized as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History Month.  During October the history of gay rights and related civil rights movements are recognized and celebrated. 

The Rainbow Flag is one of the most widely recognized symbols of the LGBTQ movement. The message of the rainbow is hardly new.             

Since ancient times, rainbows have been symbolic in many cultures, including Greek, African, Native American, and Celtic. Even Reverend Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition has used the rainbow as a freedom symbol.

The Rainbow Flag as we know it today was developed by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker in 1978. At the time, there was a need for an LGBTQ symbol which could be used year after year for the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade.  Baker took inspiration from many sources, from the hippy movement to the black civil rights movement, and designed the Rainbow Flag.  

Baker explained that his colors each stood for a different aspect of gay and lesbian life.

  •   Red for life 

  •   Orange for healing

  •   Yellow for the sun

  •   Green for nature

  •   Blue for art

  •   Violet for spirit 


Baker himself and thirty other volunteers hand-stitched and hand-dyed Rainbow Flags in 1978.  Later that year, when San Francisco’s first openly gay supervisor, Harvey Milk, was assassinated, the 1979 Pride Parade Committee found in Baker's flag the perfect symbol for the entire gay community to unite under in protest of this tragedy.  The Rainbow Flag is officially recognized by the International Congress of Flag Makers.

 

 


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