The History And Meaning Of The Rainbow Pride Flag

The River of Pride Flag gilbert baker

Stroll across any number of cities throughout June, and you’ll find the near-ubiquitous presence of the rainbow pride flag, which has come to represent the LGBTQ community worldwide. This year alone, the iconic, six-stripe pattern has been seen in children’s books, at theme parks and on a seemingly endless series of clothing lines; a revamped version of the design was worn by “Master of None” writer and star Lena Waithe as a “queer superhero” cape at the Met Gala last month in New York.

The original rainbow pride flag dates back to 1978, when it was created by San Francisco-based queer artist Gilbert Baker for a mere $1,000. A self-described “geeky kid from Kansas,” Baker relocated to San Francisco as an Army draftee in 1970. After an honorable discharge from the military, he decided to remain in the City by the Bay to pursue a design career.

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Understanding Pronouns Better

With our growing need for a larger selection of pronouns, keep in mind that assuming a person’s pronoun can be a sign of disrespect when misgendering them and can create an un-inclusive environment. Using the right pronouns is an important part of respecting someone’s identity and to show respect for an individuals diversity of gender identity and promote awareness.

When in doubt ask. People want to be identified correctly so if you’re unsure politely ask “what pronouns do you use”. This is a good time for you to offer your prefered pronouns even if you think they already know.

If you make a mistake don’t worry, it happens. Apology then use the correct pronoun for them. Try not making them feel uncomfortable or the need to explain why use that pronoun.

Using the correct pronoun comes easy to some and for others pronouns that fall outside the gender binary might take time to pick up. Being taught as a young person that you only have he/him and she/her to use can be challenging to add they/them, ze/hir and ze/zir to a vocabulary. With gender being more fluid having a better understanding of pronouns will help you and those around you.

Only a few pronouns have been referenced here, you can find more by doing a search for Gender Pronouns


A more inclusive acronym

The River of Pride The River of Pride LGBTQ LGBTQQIP2SAA

We’ve all seen the different acronyms like LGBT, LGBTQ+ and everything in between. Do you know what they all mean? The initialisms can sometimes being confusing and unintentionally leave some out. As our community evolves so will our acronyms.

An alternative, more comprehensive (though not exhaustive) acronym is LGBTQQIP2SAA+: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Queer, Intersex, Pansexual, Two-Spirit (2S), Androgynous, and Asexual. Occasionally, we’ll see a third A for Ally, and sometimes it’s preceded by an S for Straight Ally.

Projects like The River of Pride Flag and The Unity Pride Flag are building awareness to our diverse community.

First World AIDS Day Dec 1st 1988

The River of Pride Shahida Keen

The 1st World AIDS day was 30 years ago!!!

So much has changed since then.  And not enough has changed.
I was living in NYC, when people started “getting sick” and ultimately dying. Even in writing this, it reveals the depth of my collective sadness due to so much unnecessary loss, heartbreak, ignorance and fear.
In every crisis, there is the opportunity for people to reveal the best of themselves.
Crisis can help us dig deep and give with an open heart, to show one’s fierceness in the face of ignorance, ones vulnerability & resiliency in the shelter of community.
AIDS has impacted every corner of the world, there is not one country or group of people who has been left unchallenged by this epidemic.
For years, I had a FT gig as an HIV Prevention Educator in school systems for students, parents & teachers, I spoke to over 20,000 people. There were/are thousands of us around the globe providing facts as pathways to safety & sanity when shame was being heaped on like quicksand.
There were amazing things happening in our larger community, which became integral doors to opening our own minds & hearts to struggles within our own communities and the larger world.

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We’re not alone!

The River of Pride Flag

7.3 percent of people born between 1980 and 1998 who now identify as
LGBTQQIP2SAA+—up from 5.8 percent in 2012. (This new data reinforces a 2015 conclusion from the Public Religion Research Institute that “7 percent of millennials identify either as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender,” based on a survey of 2,000 adults.) It’s uncertain if this data take in account for the 2.7% of millennials who identify as genderqueer, gender-fluid or unsure of their gender identification.

A colorful Inspiration

The River of Pride A Colorful Inspiration

Did you know how the creator of the Gay Pride Rainbow Flag come up with the idea? Harvey Milk, an openly gay elected politicians challenge Gilbert Baker who worked making clothing. Some say because he was from Kansas, his inspiration came from “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in “The Wizard of Oz” according to Queer Sites: Gay Urban Histories Since 1600