September 16, 2020
The original LGBTQ+ pride flag is a rainbow flag that stands as a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) pride and LGBTQ social movements. Other older uses of rainbow flags include a symbol of peace. The colors reflect the diversity of the LGBTQ community. The flag is now used as a symbol of gay pride during LGBTQ rights marches. While this use of the rainbow flag originated in San Francisco, it is now used worldwide.
Gilbert Baker designed the original flag. In 1977, Harvey Milk challenged Gilbert Baker, a veteran who taught himself to sew, to come up with a symbol of pride for the gay community. His response? The original Pride flag. Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow” was the inspiration. These colors flew at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade celebration on June 25, 1978. After the assassination of Harvey Milk, many wanted the Pride flag he commissioned to commemorate his accomplishments. Both for the community and their personal support. The demand was greater than the available fabric, so the Paramount Flag Company began selling this version of the flag. As did Gilbert Baker, who had trouble getting the hot pink fabric.
The design has undergone several revisions since its debut in 1978. First to remove colors then restore them based on the availability of fabrics.
There are derivations of the rainbow flag that are used to focus attention on specific similar-interest groups within the community (for example, leather subculture). There are also some pride flags that are not exclusively related to LGBT matters, such as the polyamory flag. The terms LGBT flags and queer flags are now very much interchangeable.