How did the rainbow become a symbol for the LGBT community?

By Beunic
15 Jul, 2022

June is celebrated as the pride month in honor of the Stonewall riots that happened in June 1969. The rainbow flag is one of the most common sights at every celebration. More and more people are now searching for rainbow shoes, rainbow bags and pride outfits these days. I often used to wonder “Why the rainbow? How did the rainbow become the symbol representing the LGBT community?” That is when I started doing my research for this blog, and I am extremely happy to share whatever I have learnt –

Gilbert Baker (Openly gay man and a drag queen with the drag name “Busty Ross”) popularized the use of the rainbow flag for the first time in the year 1978 in San Francisco. It originally had eight colors that included pink and turquoise and each color in the flag showed the diversity within the community. Since 1979, it has had six colors (after they removed pink and turquoise because it was difficult to produce these colors back then). Black and brown were included in the flag to represent Diversity and inclusivity of people with colour as well but some people stick to the original only. All the colors together represent solidarity and togetherness of everyone in the community. The colors indicate –

  • Pink – Sexuality
  • Red – Life
  • Orange – Healing
  • Yellow – Sunlight
  • Green – Nature
  • Turquoise – Art / Magic
  • Blue – Serenity / Harmony / Peace
  • Violet – Spirit

The first pride flags went up at the UN Plaza at the San Francisco Pride parade on June 25, 1978. Baker was friends with Harvey Milk who, apart from playing a vital role in the Queer Liberation Movement, was also the first openly gay person elected to office in California. Harvey was also the one who asked Baker to come up with a symbol to represent the community. After Harvey Milk was assassinated in 1978, the demand of rainbow flags all over the US increased.Thus, the rainbow represents how the community is so diverse and yet, united!

Do not forget to check out our special section with all the rainbow collection that we have by clicking on this link

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