Flying the flag for equality

Original Gay Flag

Pride season is always important. So I decided to take a little look at the origin of the Pride flag. If I am going to spend yet another summer with it draped around my shoulders or painted on my face I should really have a fuller understanding of where it comes from. An American artist called Gilbert Baker is said to have designed the flag in 1978. Baker was openly gay and a civil rights activist who was friends with another great gay icon and activist Harvey Milk.

The creation of the flag was inspired by Bakers own passion for art, the stonewall riots and apparently the song ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’. The flag originally had eight stripes which  may have also been a representation of the ‘Flag of the races’ focussing on the diversity we see around the world. Each colour of the flag had a meaning according to Baker. I love the idea of each colour being a feeling or symbol/belief;

hot pink: sexuality
red: life
orange: healing
yellow: sunlight
green: nature
turquoise: magic/art
indigo/blue: serenity/harmony
violet: spirit

The original flag was toyed with by Baker as there were only certain types of fabrics available (hot pink was not always readily available! Why?) and eventually, in 1979, it became the flag we know and love today with six vibrant colours. It was once flown vertically where the turquoise was obscured by the lamp post so taking it out seemed like the best option.The turquoise colour was the last to be dropped to leave an even number of stripes. It is meant to be flown with the red colour at the top like a real rainbow!

Original Gay Flag 2

And so the LGBT flag or Pride flag was born. It has been seen all around the world and is recognised as the sign for LGBT people/places or allies and friends of LGBT people. More recently it has also been known as the Queer flag. There have also been variations of the flag seen in different countries such as the US version with the stars in the corner. The city flag for Cusco in Peru is also a rainbow flag consisting of seven colours. It is strange to see it flying from the top of their churches!

Original Gay Flag 2

For the LGBT community it is indeed a symbol of pride. It is a symbol of hope, togetherness and above all it represents a community. For me it was like a bolt of lightening, once I saw one I thought ‘Wow that is great!‘. It gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling when I see one, it’s inclusive and quite honestly just fabulous. So during this pride season if you are carrying one, wearing one or look like you’ve been thrown up on by one, remember to treat it with respect. It’s displayed for equality, teach someone else about what it means and most of all wear it with PRIDE!

#LGBT #LGBTQ #GAYIsOkay #HappyOut #Lesbian #GayFlag #Equality #BeYou #SameLove

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