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Queer Activists Want To Remove Gilbert Baker’s LGBT PRIDE Flag from Harvey Milk Plaza in San Francisco

There is a war brewing in San Francisco over one of the most, if not the most iconic symbol to the LGBT community. Gilbert Baker’s LGBT Rainbow Pride flag. A small number of very vocal queer activist are calling for it’s removal from Harvey Milk Memorial Plaza in San Francisco and that it be replaced by the new “Progressive Pride flag”

“The flag for some Black and brown people, they don’t feel it represents them,” says Carnell Freeman, executive co-chair of the Castro LGBTQ Cultural District. “But I think it depends on who you’re talking to. For many white gays, they’ll say they think the Progress Flag is not attractive and that they’d keep it as it is, as a rainbow. If you talk to most people of color or allies, they will say, you know, it’s time for a change.”

For those of you who are unaware. Gilbert Baker designed the Gay Pride Flag in San Francisco in 1978 for the Gay Freedom Day Parade (now San Francisco Pride) at the request of Harvey Milk as a symbol of out hope, love, and freedom . Originally it featuring eight colors but simplified to six for easier reproduction, each stripe represents a value, including red for life, blue for harmony and peace and purple for spirit. Baker never trademarked the flag, believing it would flourish as a symbol for the community only if it were free to reproduce.

The Gilbert Baker Foundation, has started a Change.org petition of its own calling for the landmark designation of the pole, which was erected in 1997 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Milk’s historic victory as the first openly gay elected official in California history. It argues that the pole and the flag constitute a piece of installation art created by Baker that deserves to be protected. Cultural institutions including the Museum of Modern Art in New York have examples of Baker’s flag in their collections.. The petition has more than 6500 signatures. to date. (<– CLICK LINK to sign.)

 “Hundreds of thousands of gay, bisexual, trans, and queer people in the United States died of AIDS while activists — many of whom themselves succumbed to the epidemic — fought, pleaded, lobbied, petitioned, marched, and protested (and continue to do so all over the world!) while carrying this flag and its predecessors, all designed by Gilbert Baker.”  The Castro Merchants Association said in a press release issued last week..  Masood Samereie the president of the organization stated that “we would support any community effort to erect an additional flagpole or some other installation in a significant location in the neighborhood to fly flags that symbolize the diversity of our LGBTQ+ residents and visitors, and would use any influence we have with the city to push this through.

Many in the Castro neighborhood are saying they find the whole discourse around the issue is getting heated and they feared getting involved due to possible retaliation. A Castro resident and business owner, who asked to remain anonymous, described the situation as “the left eating its own.”

History, especially LGBT history should never be edited, fabricated or erased said gay activist, historian and Back2Stonewall website owner Will Kohler. In my opinion a second flagpole is the best option. “Our proud and brave historical past must be preserved. Only from the past can we learn to fight for our future.”

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is one of America's best known LGBT historians, He is also a a accredited journalist and the owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced on such notable media venues as BBC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The Daily Wall Street Journal, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story. Back2Stonewall has been recently added to the Library of Congress' LGBTQ+ Studies Web Archive. Mr. Kohler is available for comment, interviews and lectures on LGBT History. Contact: Will@Back2Stonewall.com

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7 thoughts on “Queer Activists Want To Remove Gilbert Baker’s LGBT PRIDE Flag from Harvey Milk Plaza in San Francisco”

  1. Leave it be! The flag was made for the LGBT (Q) community.

    It was never supposed to represent skin color.

  2. It’s important that our historical icons remain intact otherwise our history is lost…again. I apreciate the words of our courageous young LGBTQ activists. My granddaughters are two of them. And I have a deep desire for them to understand the battles of the people on whose shoulders they stand. I was once told by a young arrogrant gay man that I was too old to offer any help in their (very wrong and proven ineffective) action against a university. They MUST learn our history and we MUST teach them, painful as it sometimes is. Thanks, Will, for keeping our stories alive even after the old guard is gone…

    Ronni Sanlo, Ed.D.
    LGBTQ historian, author and consultant

  3. Definitely agree with the comment by Michael Snell, above. The flag has great meaning to so many of us who came out in the 80s during the AIDS era. It is a part of our history. I think the attempt to include every permutation of sexuality/asexuality and gender borders on the ridiculous. Nothing against any in those categories, it’s just that the Pride flag was all inclusive to begin with and never about acknowledging specific sexualities, genders or skin color.

  4. With all this infighting the religious right is getting what it wants. The utter collapse of the LBGT community.

  5. leave the flag as it was first conceived – enough of the woke and supper progressive baloney – it’s a rainbow flag – last i checked rainbows are void of black – guess now we have to fight with God to change the rainbow

    I agree this has gone too far – and can I remind the audience we are not all supper progressive – there are gay moderates and heaven forbit gay republicans (lol) but now the face of the LBGT movement has been highjacked by nuts

  6. “Queer” is a postmodern identity, and postmodernists relentlessly tear at and undermine traditions and norms, even their own. That is why the flag has undergone 2 radical changes in just a few years, with each change unthinkingly embraced without any real debate, and with several new versions already invented and in the pipeline. It is also why gay identity has been radically revised to “LGBT” and then “LGBTQ” and then “LGBTQIA” and “LGBTQ+.” Now mixed in with transgressive heterosexuals, people with gender dysphoria and a completely open-ended “+”, a once-coherent group of people defined by same-sex orientation is now an amorphous menagerie of groups. There are real consequences to allowing a destructive religio-ideology like postmodernism run our institutions. The flag is just the latest victim.

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