Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty | 14378
Gilbert Baker is the man who designed the gay flag. After being discharged from the Army during the Vietman War, Baker settled in San Francisco, where he taught himself to sew and soon began crafting banners for gay marches and events. He befriended Harvey Milk. Given Baker’s influential role in the gay community, in 1978 the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade commissioned him to design a new symbol that could be used year after year. Hoping to represent diversity and acceptance, Baker soon settled on the image of a rainbow. “The rainbow is a part of nature and you have to be in the right place to see it,” Baker told CBS. “It’s beautiful, all of the colors, even the colors you can’t see. That really fit us as a people because we are all of the colors. Our sexuality is all of the colors. We are all the genders, races and ages.”
The original version of the flag had eight stripes, each color with a distinct meaning: pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for the human spirit. The color pink was not widely available for commercial use at the time, so it was dropped — as, eventually, was indigo — to give the flag an even six stripes.