Being a part of the LGBTQ+ community can mean many things. Your identity and sexuality might differ from other community members, but one thing unites all: pride. For many years members of the LGBTQ+ community have faced oppression and acts of hatred. Despite the trials and tribulations the LGBTQ+ community showed everyone what it means to be family, what it means to support someone who does not fit society’s “norms.” From marching to protesting to waving the rainbow flag, the community has done what it takes to make room for new policies, for acceptance, and for normalization. Through this all, the Gilbert Baker flag has been a symbol of what it means to fight for our rights and also to be proud of who we are. When someone sees a rainbow they are reminded of the vibrant LGBTQ+ community and it has since become a symbol.
If you think you might identify with the LGBTQ+ community or want to learn more visit our website.
The Gilbert Baker pride flag history
The first pride flags were first flown on June 25th, 1978 at the Gay Freedom Day Parade in San Francisco. This monumental moment marked the catalyst for the rainbow becoming a symbol of the LGBTQ+ community, prior to this the pink triangle represented the queer community despite its nod to a dark history.
The flag is named after its creator, Gilbert Baker. Baker was an activist, drag queen, and artist. Bakers said he chose the rainbow colors because it represented the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community and that the rainbow is a “natural flag in the sky.” In order to wave these flags for the first time in 1978 thirty volunteers gathered at the Gay Community Center in San Francisco to hand-dye and stitch the rainbow flags which would soon become undeniable symbols for the queer community.
The Gilbert Baker flag has 8 colors. In later years the pink and turquoise stripes were removed for production purposes. The “traditional” 6 striped flag we see nowadays is often referred to simply as the “gay pride flag.”
So what does this flag represent? As a whole, the unification of LGBTQ+ community. Below is a breakdown of what the colors on this flag represent.
- Red: Life.
- Orange: Healing.
- Yellow: Sunlight.
- Green: Nature.
- Blue: Harmony.
- Violet: Spirit.
- Pink: Sexuality.
- Turquoise: Art/magic.
Alternative versions of the Gilbert Baker flag
Because the Gilbert Baker flag was the first of its kind there are no alternative flags, but there are symbols that were used to represent the queer community before its creation.
The pink triangle was a well-known symbol of the LGBTQ+ community before the creation of flags. The pink triangle originates from Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, it began as a Nazi concentration camp badge that distinguished those imprisoned that were identified as gay men. In the 70s the queer community reclaimed this ugly symbol and turned into a symbol of protest against homophobia and transphobia.
The nonbinary gender identity includes a variety of other identities within the same vein such as polygender, trigender, and demigender people.
When the Gilbert Baker flag was created the pink triangle dwindled in popularity. A lot of controversy surrounded the symbol as it was a nod to a very dark time in history that many did not want to be constantly reminded of.
Controversy surrounding the Gilbert Baker flag
Although there are not many complaints when it comes to the Gilbert Baker flag there are still some controversies that surround its creation.
One of the controversies regards who came up with the idea. Although Gilbert Baker did contribute to the creation, many claim that the flag was a three-person idea. Baker’s friends Lynn Segerblom and James McNamara worked on the flag and claim its creation was a collaborative effort. The controversy surrounds the lack of credit they received for the making of the flag.
Another controversy is that of the Christian community and their relationship to rainbows. When the Gilbert Baker flag was created many Christians were upset due to the fact that in their religion the rainbow represents God’s promise and notoriously many Christians do not support queerness. Some Christians claim Baker “stole” the rainbow symbol from them.
Want to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community?
The LGBTQ+ community is vast. The multitude of colors and symbols displayed on the Gilbert Baker flag is symbolic of how colorful and vibrant the community itself is. Whether you might identify as a lesbian, transgender, or bisexual there is a circle of support waiting for you. If you feel like you might resonate with the LGBTQ+ community feel free to visit our website to learn more.
The Gilbert Baker flag highlights voices that are often not heard enough. This is why support and visibility for these individuals should be a critical matter that members of the LGBTQ+ community should fight for.
The bottom line is representation matters. Flags are a necessary tool when it comes to representing a community, identity, or sexuality. Putting up a gay flag or wearing it on a t-shirt shows appreciation and pride for the community. This is not only important for community members who want to feel unified, but also for visibility purposes. The colors and symbols on a flag show the world what it means to be a part of that community and give everyone a chance to show their pride.