close up photo of lgbtq letters on a person s hands

How did the rainbow get associated with the LGBTQ community?

The iconic symbol for the LGBT community made its debut in San Francisco in 1978. It was displayed at the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day parade in 1978. It has since gone on to be recognised worldwide as the symbol for LGBT spaces, venues and pride.

The flag was designed by Gilbert Baker. Since its introduction, it has gone under several design reviews and had colours removed and then re-added.

Is the original rainbow flag available to see anywhere?

The original flag can now be viewed at the Design Museum London which acquired the flag as part of a series of new objects for its permanent collection. It was acquired by the museum in 2017.

Why did Gilbert Baker create the rainbow flag for gay pride?

Speaking about the rainbow as a symbol for LGBT+ folx Gilbert Baker said,

“There was no other international symbol for [the LGBT+ community] than the pink triangle which the Nazis used to identify homosexuals in concentration camps,

“Even though the pink triangle was and still is a very powerful symbol, it was very much forced upon us”.

What do they colours in the Rainbow Flag mean?

Gilbert Baker created the rainbow flag with each colour representing a different area of life.

Pink: Sexuality

Red: Life

Orange: Healing

Yellow: Sunlight

Green: Nature

Cyan: Art

Blue: Serenity/ Harmony

Purple: Spirit

Some Gilbert Baker inspired gifts and products

Why were some of the colours of the original rainbow flag removed?

How did the rainbow get associated with the LGBTQ community?
Photo by Markus Spiske on

The original flag was an 8 stripe flag, but over time two colours were removed, the Pink and Cyan, to become the 6-flag stripe that is best-known across the globe to represent the LGBT+ community. They were removed purely on technical issues. At the time, before the modern printing processes employed today, it was difficult to produce enough Pink and Cyan stripes to be flown into the flags, so they were removed.

Leave a Reply