The rainbow flag was designed in 1978 by Gilbert Baker, of San Francisco as a response from the gay community. The community wanted/needed a symbol of pride and harmony, and called upon Gilbert.

In history green, pink, lavender, and even black had been used as symbols for homosexuality, but Gilbert wanted a symbol that would be universal and represent diversity. He designed a flag with eight stripes originally. Consisting of pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. The colors were to symbol pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sun, green for nature, blue for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for spirit. He hand dyed and sewed the flag himself. Very reminiscent of Betsy Ross. However when he approached San Francisco's Paramount Flag Company about the flag, he realized that pink could not be mass-produced, so pink was dropped from the flag.

The 1979 Pride Parade Committee decided to use Baker's flag in the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade. Since there were now 7 stripes the colors could not be evenly divided on the street during the parade. So indigo was dropped, leaving the six colors that we are familiar with today. Three colors were put on either side of the street for the parade. The International Congress of Flag Makers recognizes the flag today.

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