The History And Meaning Of The Rainbow Pride Flag

The River of Pride Flag gilbert baker
OVER 40 YEARS, THE ICONIC, SIX-STRIPE FLAG HAS GENERATED A MYTHOLOGY OF ITS OWN.

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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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.