Gilbert Baker, the creator of the rainbow flag, has died today . He was 65. His death was announced on Twitter by his good friend Cleve Jones “this afternoon. We have lost one of the greats of our community. Our thoughts are with his loved ones. Let us lower rainbow flags worldwide to half mast in Gilbert’s memory.” Abc7 News
The rainbow flag is an iconic symbol of the LGBT community and rights. The logo of Gay International Dating contains a rainbow. Baker created the flag in 1978 when he was approached by San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk. He was reportedly asked to come up with something to replace the pink triangle; a symbol used by the Nazis to identify homosexual inmates. He reportedly stated that it had be a flag. “Flags are about power,”. “Flags say something. You put a rainbow flag on your windshield and you’re saying something.” he said. According to the flag’s Wikipedia article “Thirty volunteers had helped Baker hand-dye and stitch the first two flags in the top-floor attic gallery of the Gay Community Center at 330 Grove Street in San Francisco. As they were not supposed to use dye in public washing machines, they waited until late at night to rinse out the dye from their clothes, and put Clorox in the washing machines after they left.” With that on June 25th 1978 the rainbow flag was born. He was apparently paid $1000 ($3887.79 in today’s dollars) for his work designing the epochal masterpiece.
What many people may not realize that the colors of the flag actually mean something:
- Pink: sexuality
- Red: life
- Orange: healing
- Yellow sunlight
- Green: nature
- Turquiose: magic/art
- Blue: serenity/harmony
- Violet: spirit
Baker often went by his drag name “Busty Ross” . He will be missed.