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The Story Behind The Rainbow Flag

1. The rainbow flag is an iconic symbol for the LGBT community:

The rainbow flag is an iconic symbol for the LGBT community:
Image by Keith Tsuji / Getty Images

2. It’s easily recognized in nearly every corner of the globe:

Image by Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters
Image by Keith Tsuji
 

3. Who can we thank for this colorful symbol of unity and pride?

Who can we thank for this colorful symbol of unity and pride?

4. You can thank Gilbert Baker:

After teaching himself to sew, he created banners for gay-rights marches and rallies while living in San Francisco during the ’70s. In 1979 he began work at Paramount Flag Company. Baker was commissioned by the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade in response to a need for a symbol that could be used over and over.

You can thank Gilbert Baker:

5. Gilbert’s original rainbow flag had eight stripes:

Gilbert's original rainbow flag had eight stripes:

6. Each color with it’s own meaning:

Each color with it's own meaning:

7. Baker said of his design:

Baker said of his design:
Image by John Walker/Fresno Bee/MCT

8. Pink had to be dropped because, at the time, it was difficult to find for mass production.

Pink had to be dropped because, at the time, it was difficult to find for mass production.
Image by Photo by Joe Raedle / Getty Images

9. Indigo would later be removed so that the flag would have an even number of stripes:

Indigo would later be removed so that the flag would have an even number of stripes:
Image by seattlepi.com, Joshua Trujillo / AP

10. The first time the rainbow flag was used publicly was in 1978, at the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade:

Baker and thirty volunteers hand-stitched and hand-dyed two huge flags for the parade. After the assassination of openly gay Supervisor Harvey Milk in November of that year, demand for the rainbow flags skyrocketed.

The first time the rainbow flag was used publicly was in 1978, at the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade:
Image by The Associated Press / AP

11. Before the rainbow flag was created, the most widely used symbol was the pink triangle:

Before the rainbow flag was created, the most widely used symbol was the pink triangle:

12. The symbol was originally used by the Nazis in concentration camps to identify gay prisoners:

The symbol was originally used by the Nazis in concentration camps to identify gay prisoners:

13. In 1988, the rainbow flag came gained national attention in the U.S. after a man named John Stout sued his landlord for not allowing him to display the flag from his West Hollywood apartment.

He won the case. Stout said afterwords, “This means I can continue with my life style; that I can express myself freely whenever I want to.”

In 1988, the rainbow flag came gained national attention in the U.S. after a man named John Stout sued his landlord for not allowing him to display the flag from his West Hollywood apartment.
Image by Mario Tama / Getty Images

14. Gilerbt Baker famously said of his creation:

Gilerbt Baker famously said of his creation:
Image by Mike Hollar / Getty Images

15. Listen to Gilbert discuss his rainbow flag:

Source: youtube.com
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