Monday, January 2, 2012

Rainbow Flag

We see it all the time, but do we ever think about its origins or what it means.

The Rainbow flag or Pride flag of the LGBT community is a symbol of LGBT pride and LGBT social movements in use since the 1970s. The colors reflect the diversity of the LGBT community, and the flag is often used as a symbol of gay pride in LGBT rights marches. It originated in the United States, but is now used worldwide. Designed by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker in 1978, the design has undergone several revisions.

Sewn by thirty volunteers, the original gay-pride flag flew in the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade on June 25, 1978. It has been suggested that Baker was inspired by Judy Garland’s singing “Over The Rainbow.” The flag consisted of eight stripes; Baker assigned specific meaning to each of the colors as follows:
  • hot pink: sexuality
  • red: life
  • orange: healing
  • yellow: sunlight
  • green: nature
  • turquoise: magic/art
  • indigo: serenity/harmony
  • violet: spirit
After the assassination of openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk, demand for the rainbow flag greatly increased. To meet demand, the Paramount Flag Company began selling a version of the flag using stock rainbow fabric consisting of seven stripes of red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, blue, and violet. As Baker ramped up production of his version of the flag, he too dropped the hot pink stripe because of the unavailability of hot-pink fabric. Also, San Francisco-based Paramount Flag Co. began selling a surplus stock of Rainbow Girls flags from its Polk Street retail store.

As of 2008, the most common variant consists of six stripes, with the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. The flag is commonly flown horizontally, with the red stripe on top, as the colors would appear in a natural rainbow.



Anonymous said...

I think that the colors of the gay flag originated in Hawaii. The colors were from an active football team. Someone saw them, liked them and adopted them, and that's how we got them.

Anonymous said...

As always, very cool. Interesting to read such a neat history for something we tend to take for granted.

Peace <3

Anonymous said...

Your blog would have been more interesting to me if it did not push the image that the Gay Community is entirely comprised of ONLY white gender normative males.

A community is supposed to be inclusive of those who belong to that community. If minorities and non-gender normative people are intentionally or sub-consciously not depicted by an individual with some form of intent, then the said person whom acted in such a way must not think that the aforementioned oppressed groups do not belong in the LGBT Community.

That would really be hypocritical, wouldn't it? Asking for rights while continuing to discriminate and deny...

JoeBlow said...

Anon, I am sorry that you feel that way, especially considering that I just concluded two weeks of posts about homosexuality in Asia, and that I have posted about the Harlem Renaissance and transexuals numerous times not to mention many other inclusive posts. I do not mean to exclude anyone, and do my best to bring out information about the gay community as a whole. I will attempt to do better.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you need to be apologizing for a comment that was clearly made without the poster reading your entire blog. Your posts have opened many eyes to the extent of our great LGBT community. This anonymous read one or two posts and decided you were a hypocrit. Too bad for him/her. You do just fine. Keep it up!
Peace <3

JoeBlow said...

Thanks, Jay.