Gay History: The Late Gilbert Baker On Why He Created The Rainbow Flag

The Late Gilbert Baker On Why He Created The Rainbow Flag
Gilbert Baker making flags for the 1998 Pride Parade

In 1978, when I thought of creating a flag for the gay movement (at Harvey Milk’s request) there was no other international symbol for us than the pink triangle, which the Nazis used to identify homosexuals in concentration camps. Even though the pink triangle was and still is a powerful symbol, it was very much forced upon us. I almost instantly thought of using the rainbow. To me, it was the only thing that could really express our diversity, beauty and our joy. I was astounded nobody had thought of making a rainbow flag before because it seemed like such an obvious symbol for us. A true flag is not something you can really design.

“A true flag is torn from the soul of the people. A flag is something that everyone owns and that’s why they work. The rainbow flag is like other flags in that sense, it belongs to the people.” – Gilbert Baker


Any other version of Bakes’s original design is an insult not only to Gilbert Baker and his memory, but also to the LGBT community itself.

3 thoughts on “Gay History: The Late Gilbert Baker On Why He Created The Rainbow Flag

  1. The history of the rainbow flag in other countries and lands is very interesting. If folks don’t now about Thomas Muntzer check him out. Here is a bit on him: “He carried a rainbow flag with a peasant’s boot on it. He sided with the peasants and with the working class. Convinced that God had willed the overthrow of the old society he promoted the establishment of a new egalitarian society which would practice the sharing of goods. Thomas Muntzer, (1489-1525) connected social revolution by the oppressed classes within his preaching of the gospel.  The rainbow flag with a peasants boot was used as the sign of a new era, hope and social change.” I must have belonged to his tribe back in the day and now am fully in love with my tribe of today.

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