The six-striped rainbow flag that is ubiquitous worldwide with the LGBTQ movement was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978 at the suggestion of Harvey Milk. Originally eight colors, the flag was designed with visibility, liberation, and hope in mind. Baker, who lived in New York City for the last 20 years of his life, said he believed the celebratory symbol of the movement should replace the stigma of the pink triangle that branded alleged homosexuals in concentration camps during World War II.
Baker worked with dozens of volunteers to dye, sew, and produce the first flags that debuted in San Francisco. Since then, the rainbow flag has inspired groups within the community to create flags unifying individuals across the LGBTQ spectrum.
I hoped it would be a great symbol but it has transcended all of that—and within short order—because it became so much bigger than me, than —where I was producing it. The beauty of it is the way that it has connected us.
—Gilbert Baker, 2017