Meet The Man Who Created The Rainbow Flag

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tags: LGBT, Rainbow Flag

A big rainbow flag flaps lazily outside the gay community center in Manhattan's West Village. It’s a rarity, hand-sewn and oversize, with eight colored stripes. I'm there to meet its creator, Gilbert Baker, a gay rights icon who created the pride flag nearly forty years ago, and is the force behind its adoption as the now ubiquitous symbol of the LGBT rights movement.

As we walk inside, he points above our heads — “That’s one of mine” — and then leads us up to a classroom (he’s an active volunteer at the center and greets several people on the stairs) to tell me how the pride flag came about.

It was 1978. Anita Bryant, the beauty queen turned conservative activist had just finished her nationwide anti-gay rights crusade. Baker was living in San Francisco, which had become a haven the gay community fleeing less tolerant locales. “It was a wonderful time,” he says. “Harvey [Milk] hadn’t been murdered yet and gay artistic empowerment — you had gay chorus, gay band, gay theater, gay film, all of this stuff — was just flowering.” 

Read entire article at Refinery 29

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