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Original Rainbow Flag and more art by Gilbert Baker

Original Rainbow Flag, 1978
48 x 84 inch (h x w)

The original rainbow flag was designed by Gilbert Baker in 1978 as a symbol of the Gay Rights movement. Baker was good friends with Harvey Milk who organized many marches for gay rights, and often asked him to create banners for these events. Baker would often take available scrapes of fabric to create banners that said “Gay Rights Now” in whatever color he had on hand. When the tone of Gay Rights shifted from being victims to pride, Baker designed the rainbow flag as a way to be a symbol of LGBT people. Its goal was also to be easy to recreate so that the rainbow flag could be widespread. Reflecting this goal, one of the first design changes the rainbow flag underwent was dropping the pink color, seen here at the top of the flag, due to unavailability. In an interview in 2008, Gilbert said that the nature of flags allows them to translate to anything, even tacky souvenirs. This was a design made to be available to all LGBT people, everywhere.

Word count: 173

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