Skip to main content

Rainbow Flag is first flown

Rainbow Flying High

Happy birthday to the rainbow flag! It was on this day in 1978 that the flag was flown for the first time at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade. Designed by artist and gay activist Gilbert Baker, San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk commissioned him to create a symbol of pride for the entire gay community. Originally it contained eight coloured stripes, each denoting a different aspect of life including healing, magic and serenity.

Though a couple of the colours have been dropped in subsequent editions. For instance, there’s no hot pink anymore, as a lack of available fabric led to it being removed. Shame. The flag grew in popularity and significance after the assassination of Harvey Milk just a few months after the flag’s first flying. In 2003, to celebrate the 25th anniversary, Baker was commissioned to make the world's largest rainbow flag, measuring a mile-and-a-quarter across and stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf Coast Sea in Florida. And, for old times sake, he reintroduced hot pink. Hurrah!