The History Of The Rainbow Flag

Gilbert Baker was an artist from America who was born in Chanute Kansas on the 02nd of June 1951. He grew up in Parsons, Kansas. His mother was a teacher, his Dad a judge and his grandmother owned a women’s clothing store.

He was serving in the US Army and was stationed as a medic in 1970 in San Francisco during the beginning years of the gay rights movement. He openly lived as a gay man and was honourably discharged from the military in 1972 after which he started working on his first marijuana legalization initiative and was trained to sew by an associated activist, Mary Dunn.

History of The Flag

He applied his sewing skills to making banners for anti-war protest marches and promoting gay rights. During this time, he became friends with Harvey Milk after which he joined the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence where he helped raised money for right-wing Christian efforts and was asked to create a flag for a gay pride event.

He first created the rainbow flag in 1978 but has declined to trademark it and saw it as a symbol for the LGBT community. He began working at the Rainbow Flag company in San Francisco where he designed creations for various premiers, presidents, the King of Spain and many others. He also invented creations for numerous civic events and San Francisco Gay Pride.

He then relocated to New York in 1994 where he remained for the rest of his life and furthered his work as an activist for Gay rights.

Gilbert Baker’s flag has become a symbol of gay pride, and senator Scott Wiener described him as an activist that “helped define the modern LGBT movement.” His flag became widely related with LGBT rights causes and has become universal in the past few decades since its debut.

At the age of sixty-five, he died in his sleep on the 31st of March 2017 at his home in New York City.

Today, there are several custom-made pride flags and other LGBT products available for purchase to the gay community. Visit this site to learn more about all pride flags.

One of the most well-liked flags is the multicoloured rainbow flag, popularised by Gilbert. The actual colours sometimes differ, but most of the designs include the traditional colours of orange, red, Yellow, blue, indigo, violet and green.

The colours are linked with “diversity” in the gay community and have actual meanings. The flag is mainly used in gay villages at gay pride events in a selection of forms, i.e., banners, Jewelry, and clothing. Since 1990 the symbolism behind the flag has extended to represent the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community.

The colors on the flag represent:

  • Red – Life
  • Orange – Healing
  • Yellow – Sunlight
  • Green – Nature
  • Blue – Harmony/peace and
  • Purple/violet – Spirit

The original flag had eight colors but for production purposes, the turquoise and pink were removed and has consisted of six colored stripes since 1979. The removed colors represented sexuality (pink) and art/magic (turquoise). A black stripe was sometimes used during the 1980s and 1990s to represent victims of AIDS.


When Gilbert was initially asked to create a flag for a Gay pride event by Harvey Milk, he had no idea that this flag would become a worldwide symbol for the LGBT community and that his legacy will continue to live on long after his death.