Last update:
August 17th
2002

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Rainbow Pride Flag
rainbow 2 The Rainbow: is a symbol of lesbian and gay pride, and of the diversity and many colors of our community. The rainbow plays a part in many myths and stories related to gender and sexuality issues in Greek, Native American, African, and other cultures.
rainbow 0 The use of the rainbow flag by the gay community began in 1978 when it first appeared in the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade. Borrowing symbolism from the hippie movement and black civil rights groups, San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow flag in response to a need for a symbol that could be used year after year. Baker and thirty volunteers hand-stitched and hand-dyed two huge prototype flags for the parade. The flags had eight stripes, each color representing a component of the community, and Baker explained that his colors each stood for a different aspect of gay and lesbian life: hot pink for sexuality, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunshine, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for spirit. It has become the easily-recognized colors of pride for the gay community and it is now a recognized symbol of Pride throughout the United States and Europe.
rainbow 1 In 1979 the flag modified to its current six-strip format, red for light, orange for healing, yellow for the sun, green for natural serenity, blue for art, purple for harmony. The hot pink stripe was dropped when flag makers couldn't find suitable material, and the indigo stripe was dropped to make the flag more balanced, so that three stripes could hang on either side of lampposts at Pride Parades.
rainbow 4 The flag was officially recognized by the International Congress of Flag Makers. In 1989, the flag was given international recognition when West Hollywood resident John Stout successfully sued his landlords after they tried to prohibit him from hanging the flag from his apartment balcony.
The rainbow flag has inspired a wide variety of related symbols, such as freedom rings and other accessories. There are plenty of variations of the flag, including versions with a blue field of stars reminiscent of the American Stars and Stripes and versions with superimposed lambdas, pink triangles, or other symbols.
aids victory flag A San Francisco group suggested a modification to the traditional rainbow flag by adding a black stripe to the bottom of it to commemorate everyone who we've lost to the AIDS virus over the years. So is born the Victory Over AIDS Flag. Sergeant Leonard Matlovich, a well-decorated Vietnam War Veteran dying of AIDS, proposed that when a cure is eventually found the black stripes should be removed from all the flags and ceremoniously burned in Washington, D.C.


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